Construction on the 22.6MW solar farm, known as the Speedway Solar power plant, is progressing steadily in Cabarrus County and according to the project manager, Bryson Watson from Aerotek Inc., upto 22,000 panels have been installed in the facility, out of the required 77,000 solar panels. Watson’s crew is made up of about 60 workers, who are installing new panels at an average of 2,500 day.
The Speedway Solar power plant is just one out of the three utility-scale solar projects which were awarded to Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions (DESS) by North Carolina’s Competitive Procurement of Renewable Energy program in 2018. DESS which is a commercial subsidiary of Duke Energy Corp., will maintain ownership of the projects and handle operations of the projects which includes the sales of power to Duke Energy Carolinas based on a 25-year agreement. DESS has been working on Speedway since May, along with the San Diego-based Swinerton Renewable Energy, serving as the general contractor for the project and they expect that it will be completed by the end of this year.
Watson also mentioned that the work with the pylons will soon be rounded up for the Speedway Solar power plant. His crew workers have been driving steel pylons as long as 6 feet to 9 feet into the ground, which will support the racking, where the solar panels will be mounted. The racks which are being installed, will pivot on an axis to follow the sun’s direction all through the day. Some of the crew are also working on installing panels, while others are meant to handle the wiring that connects the rows of panels to inverters; this will convert the direct current from the panels to alternating current, and in the end, the current will be distributed to a substation built on the site, which in turn will be used to power the grid.
Besides the Speedway Solar power plant, DESS is also continuing construction work on its other two projects which were won at the CPRE bidding in 2018, and they include the 50-megawatt Broad River Solar plant which started in February and the second 22.6-megawatt plant, Stony Knoll Solar in Surry County that began in June.