By Donya Mansoubi – Communications Manager, Invenergy
Women in Energy
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America’s largest solar energy center – led by women
The 1,310-megawatt Samson Solar Energy Center, poised to be the largest solar energy center in the United States upon completion, is the latest example of Invenergy’s bold vision. A $1.6 billion capital investment, the record-setting project redefines sustainability; bringing a record number of leading consumer businesses together to support their energy goals. Moreover, while supplying clean, cost-effective and reliable power to the grid.
Not only does this project break industry records, but it is also being led by an all-women team of trailblazers. For instance, at the helm of this team are Invenergy developers Bristi Cure and April Christensen and project manager Kate Woodson.
Bristi Cure, Director of Renewable Energy Development, and April Christensen, Manager of Renewable Energy Development, led the development of the project.
Therefore, for the past few years, they have been working tirelessly to execute land agreements. Also, to build relationships with landowners, local governments, and other stakeholders. Furthermore, to ensure all aspects of the project progress smoothly and on schedule. In fact, Christensen has been leading the contingent of internal team members and external vendors to get the project construction ready.
“Engaged landowners and supportive rural communities are the foundation of any large-scale renewable energy project;” says Christensen. “By providing another revenue stream to local farmers and ranchers, we are helping to support the local agricultural economy. Moreover, having come from a rural farming background myself, this impact is what I am most proud of.”
More about this project
Samson Solar represents an unprecedented economic development opportunity. For instance, it is creating jobs and delivering economic benefits to the home communities of Red River, Lamar, and Franklin Counties; which together have a population of roughly 73,000 people.
Developing a project of this scale takes years of hard work before it is ready for construction to commence. Thus, in summer of 2020, Invenergy broke ground on the first phase of the Samson Solar project; at which point Kate Woodson, Senior Project Manager, took the reins.
Responsible for all things construction, Woodson—who has also been with the company for about five years—oversees the management of contractors, engineering partners, and equipment suppliers to ensure the smooth, safe and successful completion of the project. She manages a large team of both Invenergy colleagues and external contractors to ensure the smooth and successful construction of the project.
“The successful execution of a project of this magnitude is an exciting process, not without its challenges,” says Woodson. “Being an integral part of a women led, groundbreaking solar project has surely been a career highlight.”
The efforts of these women and so many others at Invenergy will deliver an industry-defining project. Samson Solar boasts eight partners who have executed power purchase agreements (PPA), including leading global brands AT&T, McDonald’s, Honda, Google, and The Home Depot, in addition to local Texas municipalities. The project will span 18,000 acres, which, as The Wall Street Journal pointed out, is more than 13,000 football fields, and will generate enough electricity to power 300,000 American homes.
Indeed, over the life of the project, an estimated $450 million will be directly invested in the local economy. Hence, residents will benefit in multiple ways, including lease payments to participating landowners and new tax revenues.
Finally, Invenergy is excited to bring this project to fruition and could not have gotten to where we are today without our extraordinary women-led team and many others. In brief, this is a group of exceptional individuals and exceptional communities, working together to realize the most ambitious solar project in American history.
About the Author
Donya Mansoubi is Manager, Communications, at Invenergy. There, Donya oversees communications and social/digital media strategy. Hence, to advance Invenergy’s business and policy goals both in the U.S. and internationally.