Swift Current Energy is scheduled to begin construction of the 800 MW project by fall 2024.
Boston-based solar and wind project developer Swift Current Energy has begun construction on the Double Black Diamond solar project in Illinois. It is an 800 MW(DC) power scale solar project that could become the largest solar project in the United States. and the first to use only US-made modules, hardware and electrical components.
The project is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2024 and will be transferred to the developer’s ownership when it is operational. First Solar will supply 1.6 million US-made solar panels and Nextracker will supply US-made tracking systems for the project.
The developer recently selected McCarthy Building Companies as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the project. Construction is estimated to last 14 months.
The project checks a few additional boxes for US Inflation Reduction Act initiatives and credits. The project has set goals for apprenticeships and diversity, equality and inclusion, which will be promoted with local unions of carpenters, labourers, operators, electricians and crew leaders.
McCarthy works with local 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. Once operational, Double Black Diamond will generate enough clean energy to power more than 85,000 Illinois households annually.
The city of Chicago will be a key customer in cooperation with Exelon’s Constellation Energy. Starting in 2025, the city will partially source its major energy uses, such as Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport, with Double Black Diamond renewable energy. The project is expected to bring $100 million in tax revenue to Sangamon and Morgan counties, where the project is located.
“One of Double Black Diamond’s largest end-users, the City of Chicago, is proud to support a project that will generate solar energy right here in Illinois and be built in line with our shared workforce and capital goals,” said Angela Tovar, Chief Sustainability Officer. Official of the Chicago Office of Climate and Environmental Responsibility.
Additional customers of the large project include the state’s agricultural insurance, which acquires approximately 103,000 MWh of clean energy per year from Constellation as part of reducing its environmental footprint.