Did you know that the earth receives enough solar energy each hour to power the world for an entire year?
PCL Construction has completed nearly 60 solar projects across North America and Australia, helping to supply clean energy to more than half a million homes and businesses. These solar projects are contributing towards meeting important net-zero emission targets, and they also help local economies along the way.
The company is looking to do more of this work in the north, to use its skill and experience right here in Sudbury and across Northern Ontario.
For many years now, countries around the world have been issuing climate action plans. Recently, they’ve set net-zero emission targets that increase renewable energy sources year-over-year.
PCL Solar, a division of the company that specializes in solar projects, is contributing to the following emissions targets:
The United States
In the U.S., PCL Solar projects are contributing to the government’s goals of reaching a 100% decarbonized electric grid by 2035 and a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.
The company is working to support aggressive net-zero targets and has built utility-scale solar projects in eight states to date. Work in renewable energy will continue to thrive with the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022; it represents the largest climate investment in U.S. history and will lead to increases in solar manufacturing and demand.
Here at home, PCL Solar’s projects are contributing to the government’s target of getting 90% of its electricity from non-emitting sources by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
Here at home, PCL has built Canada’s two largest solar sites to date: Travers Solar in Vulcan County, Alberta and Claresholm Solar, near the town of Claresholm, Alberta. The Travers facility generates enough energy to power 100,000 average homes annually, while the Claresholm facility reduces carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 149,000 metric tons per year.
PCL is also making an impact in Australia and contributing to that nation’s target of reaching net- zero emissions by 2050. It has completed two solar projects and two more are currently under construction, totalling just under one gigawatt of direct current capacity.
The future of solar power
To date, PCL Solar’s projects have contributed more than 3.5 gigawatts of solar energy. It’s a number that continues to increase, as this year the division has secured approximately $1 billion worth of new work across the U.S., Canada and Australia, with an anticipated 15 projects ongoing in various stages of pre-construction, construction and commissioning.
“It’s an exciting time,” says Rodolfo Bitar, business development manager for PCL Solar. “We plan to expand our team by 25% this year to support our projects and increase our capacity for future years.”
This won’t be the only area of growth for the company this year. The team expects further expansion in Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) operations as well, with U.S. utilities expected to triple battery storage capacity by 2025. BESS contributes to net-zero emissions too, as the technology minimizes the impacts of intermittent renewable energy power sources, allowing for a more seamless and efficient renewable energy deployment.
PCL Solar is also proud to be building clean energy solutions that provide cost savings to local communities. They built the Summerside Solar and BESS project at a local recreation centre in Prince Edward Island, for example, which saves the Credit Union Place facility $100,000 annually. It’s a model for how communities can incorporate solar technology to lower electricity costs and generate clean energy for everyday purposes.
How solar projects can enhance the economies of rural locations
For PCL, solar projects are about much more than just building facilities—they are about leaving a lasting positive impact on the local economy. The company contributes to these economies in several ways, especially those located in rural areas, through awarding contracts to local businesses, such as janitorial and waste services, fencing, procurement, suppliers and subcontractors. They also hire and train local employees, introducing them not only to short-term jobs but also to long-term careers at PCL.
“Solar projects have a variety of positions available, from no experience required to high-level positions with significant experience required,” says Andrew Moles, general manager, PCL Solar. “We offer training programs for workers to gain the skills needed to work on PCL Solar projects effectively and safely.”
To illustrate, PCL recruited more than 150 local workers and military veterans to work on the Odom Solar project in Berlin, Georgia. During construction, the Travers Solar project in Alberta created more than 1,000 full-time jobs for Vulcan County, including nearly 200 Indigenous workers.
Building the future
PCL has been a leader in building solar and BESS projects for nearly 15 years now, showing how the company, and the construction industry overall, is working towards a more sustainable planet for future generations.
Says Moles, “We may have a long way to go when it comes to net-zero emission targets, but I’m proud of the work PCL does to build not just for tomorrow’s needs but for the future where we live, work and play.”
In Sudbury and throughout Northern Ontario there are many opportunities to advance this important work. For more information, visit PCL Construction or call 705-995-2225.
Anna Frattini: Manager, Business Development & Relationships, Northern Ontario
PCL Constructors Northern Ontario Inc.
598 Falconbridge Road
Sudbury, Ontario P3A 5K6
E: [email protected]