Veterans Support Construction of New Solar Farm in Texas
February 14, 2022
Two companies are building a large new solar farm spanning 1,350 acres in Elm Branch, about 40 miles south of Dallas. The 163-MW facility is the first major solar project that L3 Harris Technologies (L3Harris) and Lightsource BP solar panels have developed.
In fact, it’s the world’s largest solar project, containing more than 360,000 solar panels. This project represents Texas’ solar trend that continues upward across the state.
L3Harris has partnered with Adaptive Construction Services (ACS) to train returning veterans for jobs in the construction industry. The companies expect more than 50 people will work on the first wave of installations.
The solar farm will benefit the local area by adding much-needed revenue, specifically through increased tax revenue for local communities and school districts. Here are some additional benefits of the new Elm Branch solar farm.
Better Job Opportunities
ACS will help veterans become more qualified for jobs in the renewable energy industry. They’ll receive training, internships and apprenticeships at solar companies nationwide.
The hope is that these opportunities will give them future job security while also allowing them to support their families.
The new solar farm will allow for the annual displacement of more than 110,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. It’ll also reduce water consumption by 5 million gallons per year through its efficient irrigation systems.
As a result, Elm Branch should become an official WaterSense partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
New Highways for Solar Energy
Solar has seen double-digit annual growth rates in recent years, with a 42% average yearly increase in the past decade. More than 100 gigawatts of solar capacity are now operational across the country — enough to power 18.9 million homes.
The development of this new solar farm in Elm Branch will add to the existing power grid and provide residents with a more sustainable option when it comes to their energy needs.
Increased Land Value
The new solar farm will also have a positive effect on surrounding properties.
Its construction will help increase the value of the land on which the companies develop it. Additionally, it’ll allow farmers to earn more money for their crops or cattle. In fact, one farmer has already planned to get a local bank loan to build a farmhouse.
Free Help for Farmers
L3Harris and ACS are hosting a workshop at Colorado State University that will teach farmers about solar energy. They’ll learn how it works, the economic benefits of renewables and how they can get involved in the sustainable energy movement.
The workshop will also address common concerns about solar energy, such as whether it reduces the value of farmland or harms crops.
Support for the National Craft Workforce Training Initiative
The program provides solar installation training for veterans, military personnel and other local workers who want to learn hands-on job skills. ACS has already held training for veterans across the country, intending to create a skilled workforce that will support renewable energy projects across the country.
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Featured image via Unsplash