Press Release: 08.12.2020

Lightsource bp and McCarthy partner on Bighorn Solar

Project to bring 300 megawatts of clean energy and jobs to community, in collaboration with GRID Alternatives, the community college and other local job training programs

utility scale solar panels with snow covered mountains behind them

In September 2019, Xcel Energy and Lightsource bp announced that they had signed a long-term power contract for a new solar power facility in Pueblo, Colo. One of the largest solar infrastructure projects in the state, the 300 megawatt Bighorn Solar project is being developed and financed by Lightsource bp, who will be the long-term owner and operator.

McCarthy’s Renewable Energy & Storage team was named by Lightsource bp as the Engineer, Procure, and Construction Contractor (EPC) for the Bighorn Solar project, which will include the installation of nearly 750,000 Canadian Solar crystalline solar panels and NEXTracker single-axis trackers. The project is located on 1,800 acres of land on EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel property in Pueblo, making it the largest on-site solar facility dedicated to a single customer in the country. Xcel Energy, as the electrical provider for the steel mill, will purchase the electricity wholesale from Lightsource bp to sell to EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel, providing cost effective and predictable electricity rates that are helping ensure that the steel mill that employs 1,000 local workers is able to remain in Pueblo as well as expand their operations.

“Colorado and the Pueblo community continue to advance a bold national model about how to take advantage and harness the power of the clean energy economy. This project is the latest example of the sweeping benefits of investing in renewable energy, including cutting pollution, and increasing local job growth.”
- Jared Polis
Colorado Governor

Local Job and Training Opportunities

“We selected the McCarthy team as our EPC contractor both for their track record in successfully building large utility-scale projects here in Colorado as well as their commitment to hiring a local workforce. This project is a great example of how innovative partnerships can maximize the economic benefits that clean energy projects bring to local communities. At Lightsource bp, we’re excited to partner with organizations that will help us be a leader in a transition to low carbon energy that includes everyone.”
- Kevin Smith
CEO of the Americas for Lightsource BP

In addition to the local economic benefits that Bighorn Solar is bringing to Pueblo through its contribution to the economics of the steel mill and its new expansion, the project will create approximately 300 direct jobs on site, the majority of which will be hired from the local community, for the 12-14 month construction period beginning this fall. Bighorn Solar is expected to complete in late 2021.

Area residents interested in working on the Bighorn Solar project should visit, and enter “solar” to find job postings for positions ranging from entry level to experienced, including laborer, operator, crew lead, electrician, and journeyman electrician.

To train entry level laborers and craft workers new to the growing solar industry, McCarthy is implementing principles of Training Within Industry (TWI), a program originally developed by United States Department of War in the 1940s to help re-train workers quickly and reliably on moderately complex tasks. Through its TWI solar program, McCarthy applies its "Learn. Perform. Repeat” methodology and offers highly effective and efficient training to workers with little or no experience in solar installations. By deploying TWI and lean construction principles on solar projects from coast to coast, McCarthy is overcoming the biggest challenge faced by the construction industry today and successfully training its craft workforce.

“Knowing the significant impact that Bighorn Solar will have on the community of Pueblo, Colorado makes it extremely rewarding to be part of building the project. The renewable energy sector is helping communities around the country to benefit from jobs and meeting their clean energy goals. Our workforce training program is designed to do exactly that, along with helping more people begin to develop careers in renewable energy.”
- Scott Canada
Executive Vice President, McCarthy Renewable Energy & Storage Group

Making Solar Jobs Accessible to Community Members Most in Need

Lightsource bp is a corporate sponsor of GRID Alternatives, a national non-profit making renewable energy technology and job training accessible to low-income communities and communities of color.

Through this partnership, Lightsource bp is sponsoring economic development programs in the state of Colorado, including a free solar training program for un- and underemployed workers in Pueblo. While the primary goal of the program is to train participants for the solar industry, graduates leave with valuable experiences that are transferable to the general construction, electrical, and mechanical trades. Lightsource bp is also a sponsor of an upcoming event with GRID Alternatives in Pueblo that highlights the installation of a community solar project benefitting low-income residents.

McCarthy looks forward to supporting Lightsource bp's partnership with GRID Alternatives and plans use their training program to assist with identifying local workers for the Bighorn Solar project construction.

About Lightsource bp

Lightsource bp is a global leader in the development and management of solar energy projects. They are a 50:50 joint venture with bp plc, working together to help drive the world’s transition to low carbon energy through competitively priced and sustainable electricity. With solar set to increase tenfold in the next 20 years, Lightsource bp is well-positioned to capitalize on this growth and enact real change on the global energy landscape through responsible solar projects. The company has set an aggressive target to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.

The team is comprised of 500 industry specialists, active across 13 countries – providing a full-service to their customers from initial site selection and permitting through to long-term management of projects. Lightsource bp in the US is headquartered in San Francisco with development offices in Denver, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Houston. Since the company announced its strategic expansion into North America in late 2017, the team has developed a portfolio of more than 8 gigawatts of large-scale solar projects across the United States with nearly one gigawatt of contracted assets. For more information please visit, follow us on Twitter @lightsourceBP and Instagram @lightsourcebp or view our LinkedIn page. For media inquiries, please contact Mary Grikas at 732-249-3908 or

About McCarthy

McCarthy is the oldest privately held national construction company in the country – with more than 150 years spent collaborating with partners to solve complex building challenges on behalf of its clients.

Since 2010, McCarthy’s Renewable Energy & Storage group has completed or is in the process of constructing more than 48 utility-scale clean energy projects in communities across the country, delivering a combined capacity of more than 3.6 Gigawatts (GW) of clean energy production and over 320 MW of energy storage.

Nationally, McCarthy provides EPC services on utility-scale solar projects for private solar developers and utilities, helping them deliver cost-effective clean energy to the communities they serve.  With an unrelenting focus on safety and a comprehensive quality program that span all phases of every project, McCarthy utilizes industry-leading design phase and construction techniques combined with value-add technology to maximize outcomes. Repeatedly honored as a Best Place to Work and Healthiest Employer, McCarthy is ranked the 9th largest domestic builder (Engineering News-Record, May 2020) and in 2019 McCarthy was named the Top Solar Contractor in Colorado by Solar Power World. With approximately 3,700 salaried employees and craft professionals, the firm has offices in St. Louis, Atlanta; Collinsville, Ill.; Kansas City, Kan.; Omaha, Neb.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Denver; Dallas, Houston; and San Diego, Newport Beach, San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento, Calif. McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned. More information about the company is available online at

sign up to receive insights

Sign up to receive McCarthy Insights