Efforts Underway to Hire and Train Local Team Members and Military Veterans
Colquitt County, GA – June 23, 2020 – PCL Construction Services, Inc., one of the largest contractors in North America, today announced that the company has begun construction on the 20-megawatt (MWAC) Odom Solar Farm, located near the city of Moultrie in Colquitt County, a rural community in Southwest Georgia.
Silicon Ranch Corporation, one of the nation’s largest independent solar power producers, selected PCL’s solar division as the Engineer-Procure-Construct (EPC) contractor for the project. One of the industry’s most well-resourced contractors providing EPC services, PCL’s contracted solar projects in the United States, Australia, and Canada total over one gigawatt.
The Odom Solar Farm is part of a portfolio of projects that will provide power to Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) as part of the utility’s agreement to supply 100 percent renewable energy for Facebook’s data center in Newton County, Georgia. In total, Walton EMC and Silicon Ranch have executed six contracts totaling 435 MWAC of new renewable energy generation to support Facebook’s operations in Georgia. Silicon Ranch commissioned the first of these projects, the 102.5 MWAC Bancroft Station Solar Farm in Early County, in November 2019.
PCL is responsible for the design, procurement, construction, commissioning, and handover of the utility-scale solar facility. Silicon Ranch is funding the installation and will own and operate the array for the long-term, a disciplined approach the company takes with every project it develops.
Both Silicon Ranch and PCL share a commitment to safety and are following CDC and OSHA guidance for preparing workplaces and responding to COVID-19 at the project site through social distancing, additional cleaning, and monitoring standards in an effort to reduce the impact of the virus. Workers supporting the energy sector through renewable energy, including those involved with construction, have been identified as “essential” by the Department of Homeland Security. More information on critical infrastructure during COVID-19 can be found here.
To construct the project, PCL and its subcontractors will hire approximately 150 craft workers, with preference given to recruits from the local labor pool and the military veteran community. Positions include mechanics, electricians, operators, foremen, safety professionals, inventory specialists, carpenters, installers, general laborers, and more. Area residents interested in working on the project can learn more by visiting the ‘Skilled Craft’ section of PCL’s website.
“As the long-term owner of our projects, Silicon Ranch is committed to supporting the communities we serve, and we’re pleased to work with PCL to execute this vision in Colquitt County,” said Silicon Ranch Co-Founder and CEO Reagan Farr. “Silicon Ranch has invested significantly in the local and statewide economy over the past several years, and we are grateful to Walton EMC and Facebook for making the Odom Solar Farm and this investment possible in rural southwest Georgia.”
“PCL believes in the ability of solar power producers to bring long-term value and economic development to local communities through access to low-cost, clean energy,” said Rick Goldman, vice president & district manager for PCL. “As a collaborative construction partner, we are committed to driving economic opportunities to the Colquitt County community through partnership with Silicon Ranch and the local labor pool.”
“Because our customers own us, Walton EMC’s primary focus is serving their needs,” said Walton EMC CEO Ronnie Lee. “Our partner, Silicon Ranch, has enabled us to supply Facebook with the renewable energy they desire for the Newton Data Center. Besides being good citizens and contributing to the economic wellbeing of the communities where they locate, Silicon Ranch also cares for the environment through their Regenerative Energy platform. This fits perfectly with our principle of ‘concern for community.’”
According to Barbara Grogan, President of the Moultrie Colquitt County Development Authority, “Colquitt County welcomes both Silicon Ranch Corporation and PCL Construction Services to the community. Silicon Ranch will be joining the business and industry leaders of Colquitt County as an engaged member of our civic community, providing quality jobs initially through PCL Construction and expanding the tax base in the long term. The Authority looks forward to many years of community commitment by Silicon Ranch and others who wish to develop solar arrays.”
The U.S. is the second-largest generator of solar power in the world, and Georgia remains one of the fastest-growing markets for growth in the country. In its 10th annual National Solar Jobs Census, the Solar Foundation reported that Georgia placed first in the nation in 2019 in the rate of solar job growth, with an increase of nearly 30 percent. According to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, the state of Georgia is projected to see continued growth in solar construction through at least 2024.
About Silicon Ranch Corporation
Silicon Ranch is the U.S. solar platform for Shell and one of the largest independent solar power producers in the country. Silicon Ranch’s work with a diverse set of customers across the country, including Fortune 500 companies and electric cooperatives, demonstrates its ability to customize solutions that ensure successful outcomes. The company’s operating portfolio includes more than 135 facilities across 14 states from New York to California, including the first large-scale solar projects in Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Silicon Ranch pioneered utility-scale solar in Georgia and is today a recognized market leader, with more than 1 Gigawatt across the state. To learn more, visit siliconranch.com and go to facebook.com/siliconranch
About PCL Construction
PCL is a group of independent construction companies that carries out work across the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and in Australia. These diverse operations in solar and power production, civil infrastructure, heavy industrial, and buildings markets are supported by a strategic presence in 31 major centers. Together, these companies have an annual construction volume of more than $6 billion, making PCL one of the largest contracting organizations in North America. Watch us build at PCL.com.
About Walton EMC
Walton EMC is an innovative, customer-owned electric utility serving accounts in 10 Northeast Georgia counties between Atlanta and Athens. In its long history of meeting customer-owners’ needs, the cooperative established successful natural gas and security subsidiaries as well as nationally recognized residential consumer and commercial customer choice solar initiatives. For more information, visit waltonemc.com or facebook.com/waltonemc.