Irvine, California-based 174 Power Global, a leading solar energy company, and Gerdau Long Steel North America (Gerdau), a leading steel producer, today announced that the two companies have entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) to develop one of the largest behind-the-meter (BTM) solar facilities in the nation.

The 80-mW Gerdau Solar project, located adjacent to the company's Midlothian Steel Mill in Midlothian, Texas, will be comprised of more than 231,000 solar panels, spanning more than 700 acres. The BTM system will provide power directly to the Midlothian mill, creating cost and energy consumption benefits, claims Gerdau.

The project plans to utilise Gerdau’s solar beam pilings, offset the emissions of more than 13,000 average Texas households, create more than 200 construction jobs and generate $19 million in tax revenue over the next 30 years.

“174 Power Global is pleased to enter into this partnership with Gerdau, one of the world’s most environmentally responsible steel producers, as we continue to develop our solar generation footprint and behind-the-meter projects in Texas,” said 174 Power Global's president Henry Yun. “We look forward to breaking ground on the construction of this important and innovative project and continuing to provide clean energy solutions to the state.”

According to Gerdau's Long Steel North America president, Chia Yuan Wang, “Gerdau has a culture of sustainability. The products from our Midlothian facility are already made from 100% recycled scrap metal. Developing and utilising green energy is an innovative way to further enhance our environmental contributions.”

Gerdau Midlothian General Manager Dean Peery added, “The Midlothian mill has been producing steel in the community since 1975, and we are grateful for the city’s ongoing support and partnership. Our new Gerdau solar facility will provide environmental and economic benefits to Midlothian, and we are pleased to work alongside the 174 Power Global team.”

Midlothian Mayor Richard Reno, commented: “The Gerdau Solar project will provide near-term stimulus, revenue for the city and schools, as well as long lasting economic benefits. Midlothian is a great place to do business, and we are pleased that Gerdau continues to invest in our community.”

Construction on Gerdau's solar facility is expected to commence by the end of 2020 and be completed at the end of 2021.