Those are just two of many reasons to celebrate Solar Appreciation Day, which is observed around the world on the second Friday in March to bring attention to the benefits of solar power and the technologies that make solar energy use efficient.
This Solar Appreciation Day, PCL celebrates the contributions these solar projects make to net-zero emission targets and the support they provide to local economies along the way.
Countries around the world have been issuing climate action plans for many years, and, more recently, setting net-zero emission targets that increase renewable energy sources year-over-year.
With solar operations in the United States, Canada, and Australia, PCL Solar – a division of PCL that specializes in solar projects – contributes to these emission targets:
- In the United States, 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. To date, PCL has built utility-scale solar projects in eight states and continues to grow in the market year over year to support aggressive net-zero targets. Renewable energy work will continue to thrive with the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which represents the largest climate investment in U.S. history and will lead to increased solar manufacturing and demand.
- In Canada, PCL solar projects are contributing to the government’s target of getting 90% of its electricity from non-emitting sources by 2030 and having net-zero emissions by 2050. PCL 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.
- With two solar projects completed and two more currently under construction in Australia, totaling just under one gigawatt of direct current capacity, PCL is making an impact in Australia and contributing to its target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
PCL Solar projects have contributed more than 3.5 gigawatts of solar energy to date. That number continues to increase this year as PCL Solar has secured approximately $1 billion worth of new work across the United States, Canada and Australia, with an anticipated 15 projects on-going in various stages of pre-construction, construction and commissioning throughout 2023.
“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.”
Not only will PCL Solar operations grow this year, but the team expects further expansion in Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) operations as well, especially considering U.S. utilities are expected to triple battery storage capacity by 2025. BESS also contributes to net-zero emissions because this technology minimizes the grid impacts of intermittent renewable energy power sources and allows for more seamless and efficient renewable energy deployment.
PCL Solar is proud to build clean energy solutions that also provide cost savings to local communities. In Prince Edward Island, Canada, for example, PCL built the Summerside Solar and BESS project at a local recreational center. With this project, the Credit Union Place facility saves $100,000 annually. This is a model for how communities can incorporate solar technology to lower electricity costs and generate clean energy for everyday purposes.
For PCL, solar projects are about more than just building facilities – they are about leaving a lasting positive impact on the local economy that we build in. PCL contributes to local economies, especially those in rural areas, in various ways, such as awarding contracts to local businesses, like janitorial and waste services, fencing, procurement, suppliers and subcontractors. The company also works to hire and train local employees to introduce them not only to short-term jobs but also 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.”
In Berlin, Georgia, for instance, PCL recruited more than 150 local workers and military veterans to work on the Odom Solar project. Additionally, the Travers Solar project generated more than 1,000 full-time jobs for Vulcan County during construction and engaged nearly 200 Indigenous workers.
For nearly 15 years, PCL has been a leader in constructing solar and BESS projects. Days like Solar Appreciation Day offer a chance to reflect on the impact that PCL, and the construction industry overall, is making toward a more sustainable planet for generations to come.
“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,” Moles says.