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Burns & McDonnell Completes Construction of 65-MWdc Solar Project for Vistra

LIVE OAK COUNTY, TX — Burns & McDonnell recently completed construction of a 65-MWdc/50-MWac solar project at Vistra’s Brightside Solar Facility in Live Oak County, Texas. The project peaked with over 250 craft construction professionals on-site and was completed with zero safety recordables or lost time incidents.

The site utilizes 440-watt First Solar thin-film modules in conjunction with a single-axis tracking system. In addition to the photovoltaic (PV) scope, Burns & McDonnell also provided engineer-procure-construct (EPC) services on the project substation, which is a 34.5-kV to 69-kV interconnection. The interconnecting substation design incorporated a future utility upgrade to the generating voltages, approximately 12 months after commercial operation date, as the existing 69-kV transmission line will upgrade to a 138-kV transmission line.

“This project provided a unique opportunity for us to deploy our integrated EPC execution method by designing and self-performing the construction of both the PV and interconnecting substation,” said Matt Dickey, Construction Project Manager at Burns & McDonnell. “By aligning the critical procurement packages with the construction packages and engineering packages we were able to procure equipment based on when the schedule called for it to be installed. This helped alleviate some of the supply chain issues and better plan the logistics of getting material to the site.”

The collaboration between engineering and construction helped optimize the site and find innovative solutions as challenges arose. One such solution involved a water pump that needed power. The project team worked with the owner, landowner, and distribution service provider to take an existing overhead power line underground, a rerouting that optimizes the solar arrangement for maximum performance.

“With the explosive population growth we’re seeing in Texas, projects like this are crucial in supporting a smooth, reliable transition to a fully electrified economy,” said Claudia Morrow, Senior Vice President of Development at Vistra. “Our industry recognizes that this is a time of transformation, and Vistra — supported by key partners like Burns & McDonnell — is leading the way to put clean megawatts on the grid and power a better future for all Texans.”

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“Burns & McDonnell is proud to support Vistra on this important project in their Vistra Zero initiative,” said Chad Cotter, Director of Solar EPC at Burns & McDonnell.

The project — recently honored with a Pyramid Award during the Excellence in Construction Awards presented by Associated Builders and Contractors — will provide clean energy to more than 25,000 residences.

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