Construction complete for Colorado steel operation’s 300MW solar project

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Lightsource bp, Xcel Energy, and Evraz North America dedicated the 300MW Bighorn Solar project to partially power Evraz’s Pueblo, Colorado, steelmaking operations. McCarthy Construction announced it completed building the project. 

The project is primarily located on 1,800 acres of Evraz Rocky Mountain Steel property in Pueblo. It is one of the largest on-site solar facilities in the US dedicated to a single customer, with more than 750,000 solar panels. The plant recycles scrap metal to produce new steel products, including railroad track. 

Kevin Smith, CEO of Lightsource bp, Americas said the project proves that even “hard-to-abate sectors like steel can be decarbonized.” 

Lightsource bp financed, owns, and operates Bighorn Solar and sells the electricity it generates to Xcel Energy under a 20-year power purchase agreement. As part of that arrangement, Evraz will receive energy from Xcel Energy through 2041. The project will enable Xcel Energy to abate 433,770 metric tons of CO2 emissions. The steel maker is Xcel Energy’s largest retail electric customer in Colorado and one of Pueblo’s largest employers. The deal for fixed-rate power gives EVRAZ the low, predictable electricity prices it needs to stay in Pueblo and invest in its future there, keeping more than 1,000 jobs in the city. 

The project is expected to generate $22 million in local tax revenues.

“We’re committed to being a long-term partner and continuing to advance Colorado’s clean energy economy,” said Stephen Barnes, senior vice president, project management & construction for Lightsource bp. “The Bighorn Solar project along with Sun Mountain brings Lightsource bp’s current investment to over a half billion dollars in building infrastructure to diversify the Colorado electricity supply with clean and secure energy. With our large pipeline of solar projects in the region, and across America, this is just the beginning.” 

McCarthy’s Renewable Energy & Storage has a portfolio of nearly active or completed 70 utility-scale projects across the country since 2010. It has delivered a combined capacity of more than 6.6GW of clean energy and 340MW/770MWh of energy storage. The company provides engineering, procurement, and construction services for private solar developers and utilities. 

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