Joining two prior Copper Mountain Solar projects already online, Copper Mountain Solar 3 in Boulder City, Nev., is one of the country’s largest photovoltaic plants and can generate up to 250 megawatts.

The 1,400-acre site has more than 1 million photovoltaic modules, anticipated to produce enough electricity to power about 80,000 homes. Challenges included a remote location, soil conditions and extreme high and low temperatures. More than 5,000 semitruck loads of equipment navigated the rugged Bureau of Land Management roads to supply the site.

Area wildlife, including the dangerous Mojave green rattlesnake and the protected desert tortoise, further complicated the build. A third-party EMT service was on site to increase medical response capabilities, while a herpetologist was hired to train construction and medical staff on the handling of snakes and emergency treatment of related injuries.

At peak construction, more than 500 workers installed 10,000 modules each day in an area five miles long by one mile wide.

To prevent illness and injury, workers had regular access to cooling trailers and used special equipment to decrease bending and stooping when installing modules on the fixed-tilt racking system.

To reduce time and check progress, Cupertino Electric utilized remote-controlled drones with high definition photo and video capabilities to count modules.

The fast-track project was completed in April after 17 months of construction.

Copper Mountain Solar 3

Boulder City, Nev.

Key Players
Sempra U.S. Gas Power
Lead Design Firm AMEC Foster Wheeler
General Contractor Cupertino Electric