5 US solar energy projects starting in 2021

November 11, 2020

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Sunlight is the most abundant and available natural resource on the planet. Therefore, experts have pointed out solar energy as one of the most promising and sustainable energy sources.

According to the International Energy Agency, by 2024 the world's solar power capacity could grow by 600GW.

What does it mean? The energy transition will provide a range of exciting job opportunities. In fact, the Global Renewables Outlook, IRENA predicts 42m jobs will be created across renewable energy by 2050, four times more than today.

Based on the research, this number will be dominated by solar employers and 28% of all employed energy professionals will be in North America.


Solar energy jobs in demand in the USA

Many roles won't have existed 20-30 years ago and require new skills and technology. But a large proportion will be in disciplines transferable from other energy sectors.

Here are the main disciplines creating jobs in solar energy.

  • Construction & installation
  • Manufacturing
  • Operations and Maintenance
  • Engineering
  • Grid and Infrastructure

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Figure 1: Projected jobs in selected renewable energy technologies - 2050 (International Renewable Energy Agency - Global Renewables Outlook)


The solar energy market in the USA

Since 2008, installations of solar power systems have grown 35-fold to an estimated 62.5GW today. This is enough capacity to power the equivalent of 12 million average American homes. 

Nowadays, there are more than 242,000 solar workers in the United States, with manufacturing being the second largest sector in the solar industry. Markets for solar energy are increasing fast. There are 237 solar projects slated for the next 5 years with a total value of $58bn.

The regions in the USA spending the most on solar power projects over the next 10 years are...

  • Texas - There are 45 projects scheduled.
  • Nevada - Total solar project spend is estimated to rise to $9bn dollars by 2030.
  • California - The solar capacity in the state will increase by 16,000 MW.
  • New York - There are 14 projects scheduled.
  • Virginia - 30,000 solar jobs are expected to be created.

US Solar Energy Projects_map

This blog helps energy professionals understand the changing economic situation and opportunities available within renewable energy.

Here you will find content focusing specifically on the solar energy projects in the United States.

These are the top 5 US solar projects slated to start in 2021

  1. Pecan Prairie Solar Project
  2. Golden Triangle Solar Energy Centre
  3. Sunflower Solar PV Farm
  4. Commonwealth Solar Project
  5. Happy Solar Park

You can click the project names to jump to a summary of each.

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Top 5 solar projects to start in 2021

1. Pecan Prairie Solar Project

This is a large-scale solar project in southwestern Leon County, Texas.  Developed by ConnectGen, the project expects to install approximately 500MW of solar energy, enough to power over 50,000 Texan homes. ConnectGen anticipates commencing construction of its Pecan Prairie Solar Project in 2021 and beginning operations in 2022.

Texas is ranked 4th in the nation for installed capacity. The estate is already reaping the benefits of economic growth, with an additional 13,310MW of capacity anticipated over the next five years. There are 10,261 solar jobs in the Lone Star State, and the industry is expected to grow as more projects come to fruition.

2. Golden Triangle Solar Energy Centre

Tennessee Valley Authority awarded a contract to Origis Energy to build a 200MW solar facility on 1,900 acres in Lowndes County, Mississippi. The project will include a 50MW battery storage and it is expected to begin producing energy for TVA in 2022.

Golden Triangle Solar Energy Centre estimates to save around 225,120Kg of carbon emissions and to power 45,920 homes. The project is expected to be completed in October 2022. Origis Energy will build, own, and operate the project.

3. Sunflower Solar PV Farm

Developed by Recurrent Energy, the project expects to construct a 100MW solar photovoltaic farm on approximately 1,000 acres in Sunflower County, Mississippi. The facility uses single-axis trackers and is expected to power more than 16,000 homes with clean energy upon completion.

During the construction phase, about 360 jobs will be created. The project is expected to be operational in 2022.

4. Commonwealth Solar Project

This project includes the construction of two solar energy facilities, with a combined capacity of 220MW. Commonwealth Solar Project will be operated by Community Energy Inc in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 

The energy generated from the facility will be purchased by the University of Pennsylvania that signed a 25 years contract with Community Energy. The construction of the facility is expected to take place in the fall of 2021, with the aim of entering commercial operation in 2023.

5. Happy Solar Park

Operated by Lightsource BP, this project expects to install a 132MW solar park at a 700 acres site near Happy in White County, Arkansas.  The energy generated will be purchased by Conway Corporation.

The project is expected to open some 250 job positions during its construction and to be completed by the end of 2022. The plant will be able to generate enough electricity to supply over 21,400 homes in the city of Conway. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

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How can Airswift help?

We are the agency of choice for world-leading renewable energy businesses with over 60 offices worldwide, 800 employees, and 7,000 contractors.

Our global reach and pool of available talents are unmatched in the industry. We have over 40 years of experience servicing the energy, process, and infrastructure industries.

If you work in other energy sectors and believe that is time for a career change, or an experienced solar professional Airswift can help in your job hunt.

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This post was written by: Nana Terra, Content Marketing Coordinator