Burns & McDonnell, a family of companies that design and build critical infrastructure, has completed the construction of CenterPoint Energy’s utility-scale solar project. 

Located near Troy, Ind., the 50 MW AC/65 MW DC project will mark another step toward the utility’s goal of reducing operational emissions by 70% by 2035 based on its emissions in 2005.

The solar field is constructed of approximately 150,000 solar modules, each mounted on a NEXTracker single-axis tracker enabling the modules to track with the sun to maximize energy generation as the sun’s rays naturally move throughout the day. Burns & McDonnell worked with local building trades and other subcontractors to assist with on-site labor efforts. Hiring local trades and subcontractors also promoted job growth in the region during a difficult economic downturn as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The client is very excited to have this solar project up and running,” says Doug Riedel, senior vice president of renewables at Burns & McDonnell. “The client realizes the challenges the team faced going through construction, the COVID-19 pandemic and adverse weather and is thrilled with the finished project.”

Burns & McDonnell was hired after the project’s original engineer-procure-construct (EPC) contractor exited the EPC market. CenterPoint Energy looked to Burns & McDonnell, the firm that had been serving as the project’s current owner’s engineer, to provide engineering, detailed electrical, civil and structural design, procurement specifications and construction execution services. Using an integrated team allowed for consistency and effective communication across every phase of the project. Safety remained a top priority every step of the way with more than 164,000 safe work hours logged, zero days away and zero lost-time incidents.

Photo: Doug Riedel

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