McCarthy Building Companies targets IRA labour bonuses for over 1.1GW solar portfolio

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McCarthy said that it was looking to fulfil the wage and apprenticeship requirements under the IRA throughout the projects’ construction. Image: McCarthy Building Companies

US engineering, construction and procurement (EPC) company McCarthy Building Companies has begun construction on four solar PV projects in Texas and Arizona, with a view to achieving compliance with Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) incentives.

The four projects constitute a total capacity of over 1.1GW and are expected to be completed between June 2024 and mid-2025. They are:

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  • a 260MW solar project in Milam County, Texas
  • a 260MW solar project in Pearsall, Texas
  • a 376MW solar project in Arlington, Arizona, which includes a 300MW battery energy storage system
  • a 217MW solar project in Marana, Ariz. Which includes a 213MW battery energy storage system

McCarthy said that it was looking to fulfil the wage and apprenticeship requirements under the IRA throughout the projects’ construction, which allow EPCs and developers to reap financial rewards for using government-approved apprentices and meeting wage requirements.

As per the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance on wage and apprenticeship adders, projects beginning construction this year will require 12.5% of total construction hours to be worked by qualified apprentices.

These four projects are set to create “more than 800 new solar construction jobs, of which over 200 are slated to be equipment operator, mechanical and electrical apprenticeships”, McCarthy said in a press release.

The company developed a Department of Labour-approved apprenticeship programme in 2021, which it then updated to comply with IRA requirements. The company said that it piloted this scheme at a project in Livingston, Texas, earlier in the year to ensure its compliance with the IRA before rolling out to its other operations.

Scott Canada, executive vice president of McCarthy’s Renewable Energy team said: “With utility-scale solar construction jobs on the rise around the nation, we are continually working to help local skilled craft workers, veterans and those displaced from jobs in other sectors to join our solar project teams and receive the training needed to develop rewarding careers in the growing renewable energy sector.

“Now with the IRA, there are federal incentives in place to further support apprenticeship programmes that create even more good-paying jobs and expand workforce training pathways into these careers.”

According to research from independent climate research body Climate Power, the IRA had swollen the US renewables sector by 100,000 new jobs as of February.

Earlier this month, McCarthy was confirmed as the EPC contractor for the latest Longroad Energy project to reach financial close, a 377MW project in Arizona which Longroad acquired from US thin film cadmium telluride solar module manufacturer First Solar.

In other IRA-related project news, renewables asset manager Arevon completed one of the first confirmed IRA transferability financing deals for its 157MW/150MW solar-plus-storage project in California last week.

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