Veterans Support Construction of New Solar Farm in Texas

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Veterans Support Construction of New Solar Farm in Texas

A new large solar farm spanning 1,350 acres is being built in Elm Branch, about 40 miles south of Dallas. The 163-MW facility is the first major solar project developed by L3 Harris Technologies (L3Harris) and Lightsource BP solar panels. 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 the Adaptive Construction Services (ACS) to train returning veterans for jobs in the construction industry. Over 50 people are expected to work on this first wave of installations.

The solar farm will benefit the local area by adding much-needed revenue, specifically through the increase of tax revenues for local communities and school districts. Here are some additional benefits of the new Elm Branch solar farm.

Better Job Opportunities

The ACS will help veterans become more qualified for jobs in the renewable energy industry. They’ll receive training, internships, and apprenticeships at solar companies across the nation. 

The hope is that these opportunities will give them future job security while also allowing them to support their families.

Environmental Advantages

The new solar farm will allow for the annual displacement of more than 110,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. It will also reduce water consumption by five million gallons each year through its efficient irrigation systems. 

As a result, Elm Branch is expected to become an official WaterSense partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

[Related: How Going Solar Benefits the Environment and Public Health]

New Highways for Solar Energy

Solar has seen double-digit annual growth rates in recent years, with a 42% average yearly increase in the last decade. More than 100 gigawatts of solar capacity are now operational across the country — that’s 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 is expected to help increase the value of the land that it’s developed on, as well as allowing farmers to get 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 the 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 if it reduces the value of farmland or if it harms crops.

[Related: Agrivoltaics: What to Know About Farming With Solar Panels]

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

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