KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Burns & McDonnell recently completed construction of a 65-MWdc/50-MWac solar project at Vistra’s Brightside Solar Facility in Live Oak County, Texas. The project peaked with over 250 craft construction professionals on-site and was completed with zero safety recordables or lost time incidents.
The site utilizes 440-watt First Solar thin-film modules in conjunction with a single-axis tracking system. In addition to the photovoltaic (PV) scope, Burns & McDonnell also provided engineer-procure-construct (EPC) services on the project substation, which is a 34.5-kV to 69-kV interconnection. The interconnecting substation design incorporated a future utility upgrade to the generating voltages, approximately 12 months after commercial operation date, as the existing 69-kV transmission line will upgrade to a 138-kV transmission line.
“This project provided a unique opportunity for us to deploy our integrated EPC execution method by designing and self-performing the construction of both the PV and interconnecting substation,” says Matt Dickey, construction project manager at Burns & McDonnell. “By aligning the critical procurement packages with the construction packages and engineering packages we were able to procure equipment based on when the schedule called for it to be installed. This helped alleviate some of the supply chain issues and better plan the logistics of getting material to the site.”
The collaboration between engineering and construction helped optimize the site and find innovative solutions as challenges arose. One such solution involved a water pump that needed power. The project team worked with the owner, landowner and distribution service provider to take an existing overhead power line underground, a rerouting that optimizes the solar arrangement for maximum performance.
“With the explosive population growth we’re seeing in Texas, projects like this are crucial in supporting a smooth, reliable transition to a fully electrified economy,” says Claudia Morrow, senior vice president of development at Vistra. “Our industry recognizes that this is a time of transformation, and Vistra — supported by key partners like Burns & McDonnell — is leading the way to put clean megawatts on the grid and power a better future for all Texans.”
“Burns & McDonnell is proud to support Vistra on this important project in their Vistra Zero initiative,” says Chad Cotter, director of solar EPC at Burns & McDonnell.
The project — recently honored with a Pyramid Award during the Excellence in Construction Awards presented by Associated Builders and Contractors — will provide clean energy to more than 25,000 residences.
About Burns & McDonnell
Burns & McDonnell is a family of companies bringing together an unmatched team of 10,000 engineers, construction and craft professionals, architects, and more to design and build our critical infrastructure. With an integrated construction and design mindset, we offer full-service capabilities. Founded in 1898 and working from more than 60 offices globally, Burns & McDonnell is 100% employee-owned. Learn how we are designed to build.
Vistra (NYSE: VST) is a leading Fortune 275 integrated retail electricity and power generation company based in Irving, Texas, providing essential resources for customers, commerce, and communities. Vistra combines an innovative, customer-centric approach to retail with safe, reliable, diverse, and efficient power generation. The company brings its products and services to market in 20 states and the District of Columbia, including six of the seven competitive wholesale markets in the U.S. and markets in Canada and Japan, as well. Serving nearly 4.3 million residential, commercial, and industrial retail customers with electricity and natural gas, Vistra is one of the largest competitive electricity providers in the country and offers over 50 renewable energy plans. The company is also the largest competitive power generator in the U.S. with a capacity of approximately 39,000 megawatts powered by a diverse portfolio, including natural gas, nuclear, solar, and battery energy storage facilities. In addition, Vistra is a large purchaser of wind power. The company owns and operates the 400-MW/1,600-MWh battery energy storage system in Moss Landing, California, the largest of its kind in the world. Vistra is guided by four core principles: we do business the right way, we work as a team, we compete to win, and we care about our stakeholders, including our customers, our communities where we work and live, our employees, and our investors. Learn more about our environmental, social, and governance efforts and read the company's sustainability report at https://www.vistracorp.com/sustainability.
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