Swift Current Energy will begin construction of its Double Black Diamond solar project in central Illinois this spring. The company has signed a contract in St. Louis McCarthy Construction Companies as a design, procurement and construction contractor.
Swift Current has also selected First Solar to supply the 800 MW DC solar modules for the project and Nextracker to provide the smart solar tracking solutions for the project. Most of the project’s 1.6 million solar panels are manufactured in the United States.
Working with local labor unions, the project will hire approximately 435 craftsmen to build the Double Black Diamond solar project, and crews have already begun site work. The top workforce is expected to be there for about 14 months from late spring 2023. The project is expected to be ready for commercial use in the fall of 2024, and Swift Current will continue to own and operate the facility.
The project has set goals for apprenticeships and diversity, equality and inclusion, promoted by local unions of carpenters, labourers, operators, electricians and crew leaders. McCarthy works with unions to train workers who are not experienced in solar construction in the energy industry to help meet future workforce needs and accommodate the exponential regional and national growth of the solar industry.
McCarthy is responsible for the design, procurement, construction and commissioning of the solar power plant. The solar power plant represents the largest solar energy project in Illinois and significantly improves the region’s sustainable energy infrastructure.
“With the strong growth of user-scale solar construction throughout the country, we are excited to be able to promote the development of a more diverse workforce and at the same time support the state’s sustainable development goals – Double Black Diamond represents a truly community-driven project for the region. ,” says Scott Canada, executive vice president of McCarthy’s renewable energy and storage team.
Once operational, the project will provide reliable, renewable energy and offset the equivalent emissions of more than 85,000 Illinois households annually. In cooperation with Constellation, it was announced in August that the city of Chicago will be the main end user of the Double Black Diamond solar project.
Beginning in 2025, the City of Chicago will source some of its major energy uses, such as Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport, and certain other major facilities that use renewable energy from the Double Black Diamond Solar Project. In addition, the project is expected to bring $100 million in tax revenue to Sangamon and Morgan counties in central Illinois, where the project is located.
In addition, State Farm and PPG will purchase zero-emission, renewable energy from the Double Black Diamond solar project. Illinois-based State Farm sources approximately 103,000 MWh of energy per year from Constellation as part of the insurer’s ongoing efforts to reduce its overall environmental impact. The energy purchased by State Farm is equivalent to what is currently used for State Farm’s eight corporate facilities in Bloomington, including its headquarters and operations center.