Burns & McDonnell, a Missouri-based architecture, engineering and construction firm, has broken ground on Liberty Utilities-Empire District’s Prosperity Community Solar installation, the first such renewable generation program in southwest Missouri.
“Burns & McDonnell and our direct-hire construction arm, AZCO, have a long history of working with Liberty Utilities,” said Doug Riedel, Burns & McDonnell’s Senior Vice President for Renewable Generation. “We are honored to be Liberty’s contractor for the Prosperity Solar project and look forward to helping the utility develop and construct additional community solar and renewable projects in the future.”
Comprising more than 5,500 bifacial photovoltaic panels, the 2-MW installation represents one of the utility’s first steps toward its 17-year integrated resource plan, which calls for the planned replacement of a coal-fired power plant with a combination of solar, wind, battery storage, and distributed resource investments.
Burns & McDonnell will self-perform all mechanical and electrical installation for the project. Following completion of construction by the end of 2020, the new installation is slated to be fully operational and online in January 2021.
“Burns & McDonnell and AZCO are currently executing multiple renewable energy solar projects nationwide using the local workforce on all of our construction sites,” said Allen King, AZCO’s Vice President of Project Development. “The Liberty Solar Project is another great example of how our commitment to supporting the building trades and how local hires can complete a project in a rapid timeframe.”
Across the nation, community solar programs are offering utility customers a more convenient way to directly participate in solar generation assets being installed on the electric grid. The Prosperity Community Solar program is part of a larger effort by Liberty Utilities to add hundreds of megawatts of wind, solar, and battery storage programs throughout the next two decades.