61-MW solar project now supplying power to Apple data center in Nevada

McCarthy Building Companies recently completed construction of the Turquoise Solar Project in Washoe County, Nevada. The 61-MWDC solar farm is located on approximately 180 acres in the Reno Technology Park — a 2,200-acre industrial park shared between Apple and Turquoise Solar, who own approximately 1,600 and 600 acres, respectively. The solar project supplies power to Apple’s data center within the Park.

The Turquoise Solar Project is owned by Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company. Cypress Creek Renewables provides operations and maintenance for the project.

“Apple is proud that for nearly three years we’ve powered all of our worldwide operations with 100% renewable energy,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. “In the process, we’ve charted a course for other companies and organizations to bring clean energy projects to communities around the world and help combat climate change. We’re excited to have the Turquoise Solar Project bringing new renewable energy to Nevada.”

The project, originally developed by Estuary Capital Partners and Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, was acquired by GREC in 2019. “Estuary first envisioned the Turquoise Solar project back in 2013,” said Jill Daniel, president of Estuary. “Previously, the site had been intended for natural gas-fired power generation. Estuary considered the site better suited to solar, especially given Apple’s industry-leading commitment to the environment. The project benefited greatly from the support of NV Energy and our partners in Washoe County, who helped it overcome many challenges, and we’re proud of our contribution to making it a reality.”

Construction of the project began in November 2019 and created 236 clean energy craft worker construction jobs, over 90% of which were filled by Nevada residents.

Much of the Turquoise Solar Project is located on rocky desert terrain with slopes ranging from 10% – 30%, which presented a unique engineering challenge. McCarthy, which served as the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor on the project, partnered with TerraSmart to design and engineer a plan for the site. The approach had the support of in-house and external consultants and hinged on TerraSmart’s fixed-tilt racking system, which utilizes ground screw foundations. The system proved more than up to the terrain and was able to handle drilling into the site’s rocks, hills, and arduous soils. Through the collaboration, McCarthy and TerraSmart saved time and costs by minimizing clearing and civil work on the project, which also involved the installation and wiring of 156,000 bifacial 390-W ET Solar modules.

“Thanks to the collaborative partnership with TerraSmart, this was another project where our team could design and engineer a solution for a solar project that had very unique terrain challenges,” said Scott Canada, senior vice president of McCarthy’s Renewable Energy Group. “We are also grateful to the exceptional local craft workforce for their ability to work safely and efficiently during these challenging times. Their efforts ensured the commission of the Turquoise Solar Project, allowing for the generation of clean energy to power Apple’s data center.”

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