Since solar generation facilities tend to have a large footprint (as much as 12 square miles), installing voice, data and fiber optic cabling in these facilities can be a challenging endeavor. So when SOLV Energy, one of the nation’s top solar EPC companies, was looking for specialized expertise in this area, they chose BEI construction—one of the few companies with end-to-end fiber installation capabilities in-house.
SOLV awarded BEI technology infrastructure contracts for their Solar Blue and Chestnut solar projects as well as technology infrastructure consulting contracts for their Aquamarine, Oberon, and Viking projects. Aquamarine and Oberon have been completed. The work at Solar Blue, Chestnut, and Viking is underway.
All of these solar facilities will be major sources of renewable energy for California’s wholesale electricity grid. The Solar Blue, Chestnut, and Aquamarine sites are located in Kings County. Oberon is in Riverside County, and Viking is in Imperial County.
Fiber cabling is critical to solar installations
“Fiber runs the technology infrastructure system, which is essentially the brains and monitoring of the entire facility,” explains Dominic DiMare, Principal, BEI Construction. “Key applications for fiber optic components in solar energy systems include power electronic gate drivers for inverters, sun tracking control and communication boards, and solar farm substation automation and protection relays.”
“The benefit of working with a firm like BEI Construction is we have the resources and expertise to manage the entire installation process in-house. We bring in various team members from both of our divisions, technology infrastructure and renewable, throughout the process. Not many firms out there can handle projects with this scope and complexity. With our specialized expertise in fiber for solar, we can control the schedule and delivery.”
New opportunities, exciting prospects
“As the demand for alternative energy sources continues to grow in California and throughout the country, we foresee a lot more demand for our fiber installation expertise, says Gary Chelini, Principal, BEI Construction. “In addition to our SOLV Energy engagements, we recently completed a 537.5MW fiber cabling installation for three projects in Southern California for another major renewable energy asset developer. “We’re delighted to be integrally involved in the effort to move solar to the forefront of sustainable energy in this country.”