McCarthy begins construction on over 1 GW of solar projects in U.S. Southwest


McCarthy Building Companies, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, began construction of four utility-scale solar projects in Texas and Arizona. The projects, which are in various stages of construction, will combine for over 1 GW of capacity once completed.

The projects have led to the creation of over 800 new construction jobs, 200 of which are slated to be equipment operator, mechanical and electrical apprenticeships. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) tax credit incentives call for apprenticeship labor and prevailing wage.

“Now with the IRA, there are federal incentives in place to further support apprenticeship programs that create even more good-paying jobs and expand workforce training pathways into these careers,” said Scott Canada, executive vice president, renewable energy, McCarthy Building Companies.

The four projects include:

  • 260 MWdc solar project in Milam County, Texas, which launched in June and is scheduled for completion in December 2024, will hire at least 50 apprentices and currently has 21 on the project;
  • 376 MWdc solar project in Arlington, Ariz., and includes a 300MW battery energy storage system is expected to complete in mid-2025, will hire at least 50 apprentices and currently has 19 on the project;
  • 260 MWdc solar project in Pearsall, Texas, which is expected to complete in June 2024, will hire at least 50 apprentices and currently has 33 on the project;
  • 217 MWdc solar project in Marana, Ariz. and includes a 213 MW battery energy storage system is expected to complete in March 2025, recently began preliminary site work and is in the process of hiring approximately 50 apprentices on the project.

With the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projecting an addition of 63 GW of solar capacity additions by the end of 2024, McCarthy and other utility-scale developers are working to support local skilled craft workers, industry veterans, and those displaced from other jobs to meet the rapidly growing labor demand.

McCarthy developed a U.S. Department of Labor-approved and registered apprenticeship program in 2021 to provide on-the-job training and technical instruction. McCarthy has successfully registered its solar apprenticeship programs in Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia and Michigan, with registration in additional states in process. The firm has also partnered with unions in Nevada, Illinois, and California to develop complimentary apprenticeship programs.

The company’s apprenticeship program takes two to four years to complete, pairing apprentices with journey workers for the first year of training. The apprentices are required to complete 144 hours per year of related instruction. Upon completion of the apprenticeship, graduates receive a nationally recognized credential from the U.S. Department of Labor and are potentially eligible for a wage increase.

McCarthy first piloted its solar apprenticeship program on the 209 MW project in Livingston, Texas, which is slated to be complete in December 2023.

The project developer is currently constructing or has completed 85 utility-scale clean energy projects in the country, operating since 2010. These projects, once completed, will provide over 9.5 GW of capacity and 1 GW of battery energy storage. The company is 100% employee owned.

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