Gerdau breaks ground on massive solar project

80-megawatt facility includes more than 231,000 panels; commercial operation to begin in 2023

Bill Spinks
Midlothian Mirror
Local dignitaries break ground on Gerdau Steel's 700-acre solar facility in Midlothian last Thursday. The solar facility will generate 80 megawatts of electricity for the Gerdau mill and will consist of more than 231,000 solar panels.

A massive new solar power generation facility will soon be taking shape along U.S. Highway 67 next to the Gerdau steel mill in Midlothian.

174 Power Global, Gerdau Long Steel North America and TotalEnergies have begun construction of the Midlothian Gerdau Solar project, one of the largest behind-the-meter solar facilities in the U.S.

“Sustainability is core to Gerdau and our Midlothian facility, and we look forward to using the green energy generated by the Gerdau Solar project to reduce our environmental footprint and bring long-lasting economic benefits to Midlothian,” said Gerdau Long Steel North America President Chia Yuan Wang in a press release.

The 700-acre site, which is directly adjacent to the Gerdau mill, will be comprised of more than 231,000 solar panels. According to the press release, the Gerdau Solar project will provide reliable, green power to the mill, and offset the emissions of more than 13,000 average Texas households.

“Breaking ground at the Gerdau Solar project is an important milestone that expands our solar footprint and brings us one step closer to generating more clean power for Texas,” said 174 Power Global President Henry Yun in the release. “We are pleased to partner with Gerdau and TotalEnergies as we start construction on one of the largest BTM solar facilities in the nation that will provide environmental and economic benefits to Midlothian.”

The project will create more than 200 construction jobs and provide numerous benefits to the local community, including generating an estimated $19 million in tax revenue over the next 30 years. The project is expected to reach commercial operation by the summer of 2023.

Gerdau and 174 Power Global previously signed a 20-year purchase agreement for the power generated at the facility, and TotalEnergies is actively participating in the development of the project through a 50/50 joint venture agreement with 174 Power Global.

 “TotalEnergies is proud to partner with 174 Power Global and Gerdau on one of the largest behind-the-meter solar plant in the U.S. This groundbreaking ceremony is a concrete proof of our common will to bring the energy transition to reality,” said Marc-Antoine Pignon, Managing Director of TotalEnergies Renewables USA. “This project represents our Company’s commitment to continued expansion in the U.S. utility-scale solar market and supports our ambition to achieve multiple gigawatts of gross renewables production capacity in the U.S. by 2025.”

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday afternoon, followed by a reception at Blaine Stone Lodge. Representatives from the Midlothian City Council and Midlothian Independent School District, including Mayor Richard Reno, City Council member Justin Coffman, MISD superintendent Dr. Jo Ann Fey and Senator Bryan Hughes’ office were in attendance, among others.