On March 16, 2022, Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives, Inc. (IEA) announced it has been awarded a contract by Silicon Ranch Corporation to construct the Cedar Springs Solar Ranch in Early County, Georgia.
The 70-megawatt (MWAC) solar project will provide power to Green Power EMC, the renewable energy supplier for 38 Georgia electric cooperatives.
Silicon Ranch will return the land housing the Cedar Springs Solar Ranch to agricultural production through managed sheep grazing under and around solar panels and other regenerative pastureland management practices via its Regenerative Energy® platform.
Through these regenerative practices, Silicon Ranch will restore the land to a functioning grassland ecosystem and deliver additional benefits to the region, such as carbon sequestration, restored soil health, improved water quality, and enhanced biodiversity.
“Early County holds many firsts for Silicon Ranch, including the first-ever new build facility to incorporate our Regenerative Energy model for land management with White Oak Pastures. We are pleased to partner again with IEA and White Oak Pastures to build on this legacy, and we thank our partners at Green Power EMC, as well as the Early County Board of Commissioners, for making this meaningful investment possible,” he added.
“Four Georgia electric cooperatives will share in the power generated by this new facility which will produce enough clean energy to help serve more than 11,000 households,” said Jeff Pratt, Green Power EMC President. “In addition to adding more low-cost solar power to our members’ renewable energy portfolio, we are proud that this project will create job opportunities and support economic development in Early County.”
Nashville, Tennessee-based Silicon Ranch, one of the nation’s largest independent solar power producers and operator of the nation’s largest agrivoltaics portfolio, is funding the installation of the Cedar Springs Solar Ranch and will own and operate the solar array for the long-term.
Silicon Ranch’s wholly-owned subsidiary, SR EPC, has awarded the engineering, procurement, and construction (“EPC”) contract to IEA Constructors, a wholly-owned subsidiary of IEA. Construction is scheduled to commence by the end of the first quarter of 2022, and the facility is expected to be online by the end of the year.
“IEA is excited to continue its strong partnership with Silicon Ranch, a true pioneer in the solar energy space,” said Joe Broom, IEA’s Senior Vice President of Solar Construction Operations. “We look forward to utilizing local skilled labor to help safely and efficiently complete construction of the Cedar Springs Solar Ranch project, while bringing additional clean energy options to the people of Georgia.”
IEA’s scope of work includes the installation of owner furnished modules and full balance of system EPC construction, including all civil, mechanical, and electrical work. More than 215,000 First Solar Series 6 modules will be installed across the 1400-acre site in rural southwest Georgia.
During construction, IEA plans to hire approximately 250 skilled workers, with focused efforts to recruit from Early County, the surrounding area, and the military veteran community. The project will hire for positions ranging from entry level to experienced, and IEA will provide workers seeking utility-scale solar construction experience with on-site training in tracker assembly, wire harnessing, and module installation.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Georgia is one of the ten largest producers of solar energy in the nation with more than 3,200 MW of installed capacity throughout the state. To date, nearly $4 billion has been invested in Georgia-based solar developments.
“The Cedar Springs Solar Ranch is our latest opportunity to showcase some of the special qualities that make Georgia such a great place for business, including its renowned workforce,” said Reagan Farr, Silicon Ranch Co-Founder and CEO.
Since 2010, IEA has constructed more than a gigawatt of solar farms across the United States and Canada. IEA ranks 8th for solar construction revenues among Engineering News-Record’s 2021 Top 400 Contractors.
The company will host a local job fair on April 26, 1:30 PM-6:30 PM and April 27, 9:30 AM-2:30 PM at the National Peanut Festival Volunteer Building, 5622 Highway 231 S, Dothan, Alabama.
Photo courtesy of North Carolina State University.