Reston, Virginia-based contractor Bechtel finished the Cutlass Solar Farm Project in Fort Bend, Texas, effectively bringing online enough photovoltaic generation to power approximately 20,000 homes, the company announced on Jan. 26.
The solar facility adds 140 megawatts of power to the grid surrounding Houston while eliminating 300,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. County records pegged the cost of the project at $140 million.
The installation is the latest in a large crop of renewable energy projects in Texas.
Bechtel was selected to build the project in 2021 by Swiss low-carbon energy company Advanced Power. This is the fourth project that Bechtel has completed for the company — other projects include the South Field Energy Facility in Ohio, along with the Cricket Valley Energy Center and the Carroll County Energy Facility using natural gas.
“This is an important milestone in the long-standing partnership between Advanced Power and Bechtel,” said Matt Strangfeld, the managing director of Bechtel Enterprises.
Bechtel also took advantage of tech to make the job easier. The firm leveraged GPS equipped, autonomous machine positioning pile drivers and a self-driving robot on wheels named CivDot, which marked where solar piles needed to be placed, speeding up that process. Bechtel said the robot eventually increased productivity from 300 piles per day to 1,500 piles per day.
Other contractors, such as Mortenson, are also using robots in solar pile work.
Bechtel is not the only company to jump on the renewable energy bandwagon.
Edmonton-based contractor PCL has also put heavy emphasis on solar energy through the last year with the launch of PCL Solar, a subsidiary of the company focused on the space. Andrew Moles, PCL Solar’s general manager, told Construction Dive the subsidiary earned over $500 million in revenue in 2021.