ASSET Wins American Council of Engineering Companies Award

Left to right; Will McArthur (ASSET Engineer), David Bowman (President of the ACEC MS) and ASSET Partner Ben Barnette, P.E.
Topaz Solar Farm Project
Wins American Council of Engineering Companies Award

Jackson, MS – The American Council of Engineering Companies has recognized ASSET Engineering (ASSET) for its work on the Topaz Solar Farm project in San Luis Obispo County, CA. The 550 MW photovoltaic solar farm was developed by First Solar, Inc. and is currently owned and operated by Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

Each year the American Council of Engineering Companies awards engineering firms around the country for excellence in the profession. ASSET Engineering was honored with the ACEC Mississippi Engineering Excellence Award for its groundbreaking work with Beta Engineering (Beta) of Pineville, LA and the project developer, First Solar. First Solar employed the services of Beta on an engineer-procure-construct basis for the electric substation and electrical system studies. Beta engaged ASSET Engineering for the development of the electrical system studies, building on the team’s history of other successfully executed projects for First Solar, including the Agua Caliente, Avra Valley, and Desert Sunlight solar projects.

Topaz carried the distinction of being the largest solar farm at the time of its construction and currently ranks second largest in the world. ASSET’s work on Topaz provided the model for new standards and practices used on future mega-utility-scale solar projects. Specifically, ASSET provided the proof of concept for using higher capacity inverters and aggregating them to a single point of interconnection. ASSET had to overcome the challenge of the extensive number of power buses for the plant that to accomplish this feat as they exceeded the capability of the existing industry standard software modeling tools. The solution dictated a unique engineering approach and collaboration with the software developer. ASSET’s major contribution to this project is the increased technical application knowledge that is helping enable the deployment of these mega solar plants to meet the ever increasing demand for clean renewable energy resources.

“Recognition by the American Council of Engineering Companies is a great honor and we are pleased not only to receive this award, but also gratified to see the approaches and methods created on this first-of-a-kind project now being used by other solar generation design and system engineers on projects larger and smaller,” said Neal Rich, PE, Managing Partner of ASSET Engineering.