Arrow Canyon Solar and Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) Project

Moapa, Nev.


Submitted By: McCarthy Building Cos.

Owner: EDF Renewables

General Contractor: McCarthy Building Cos.

Civil/Structural/MEP Engineer: EVS Inc.

Spanning nearly 1,400 acres, the 275-MW solar farm and 75-MW battery storage system stands as a testament both to renewable energy and respect for the land and people of the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians.

The Arrow Canyon Solar and Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) Project in Moapa, Nev., directly involved tribal members in preconstruction environmental and cultural surveys of the project area, which is home to the desert tortoise, a federally protected species.

McCarthy spearheaded the careful installation of more than 621,000 solar modules weighing a total 38.8 million lb across the entire site, an effort that at its peak, employed more than 450 dedicated team members. This included 46 tribal members, 35% of whom were women. They played a vital role in successfully delivering the facility. 

Special attention was paid to the environment, including a method of temporarily flattening vegetation in a way that preserved the plants’ root structures and disturbed the ground as little as possible for faster regrowth of habitat.

Arrow Canyon Solar and Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) Project

Photos courtesy McCarthy Building Cos.

The Arrow Canyon and BESS project is now capable of generating enough power to meet the energy needs of as many as 76,000 Nevada homes, eliminating the need for more than 632,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year, an amount equal to 137,000 passenger vehicles driven for a year. 

Despite supply chain issues related to delivery of battery storage system components, efficiencies developed through other facets of the construction scope enabled the overall project to be completed on schedule in December 2022.

The project was faced with myriad challenges while pursuing the paramount goal of generating clean energy while minimizing impacts to wildlife, habitat and other environmental resources of the Moapa tribal lands. The team worked closely with tribal liaisons throughout the project. Minimizing the impact to habitat and wildlife was particularly challenging in the Mojave Desert where the project is located and where only a few inches of rain fall each year and temperatures fluctuate between freezing and soaring well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The harsh climate supports limited flora and fauna, but the team fenced off almost 1,800 acres while biologists located 12 animals that were removed and placed in a separate fenced location managed by tribal members. Water from a nearby well reservoir was used to mitigate dust and preserve air quality in the Moapa Valley during construction.

Arrow Canyon Solar and Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) Project

Photos courtesy McCarthy Building Cos.

Daily meetings encouraged collaborative problem-solving that was critical to minimizing punch list items for the project, which included more than 94,000 piles and 7,139 tracker systems in addition to underground electric cable.

Supply chain issues also hamstrung the project. Components of the BESS were particularly impacted by delays. Those were mitigated by the team and developer working together proactively to keep the project progressing through the on-time completion of the module installation, underground foundations, battery collection segment and ancillary equipment. It allowed the project to build and maintain efficiencies through the construction process while managing scopes of work based on dates the team could control.