When Fluor Corporation announced its contract with SunPower to build a 20-megawatt solar photovoltaic plant in Pinal County, Calif., earlier this week, it further established itself in the growing renewable energy industry.
Fluor is among a collection of contractors and construction companies that are beginning to see a shift in where their business comes from.
Fluor was founded as a construction company in 1912 and developed a reputation in the emerging petroleum industry of the day, according to the company’s web site. Fluor is now known for its complex construction works in several industries, including chemicals and petrochemicals, commercial and institutional, government services, life sciences, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, power, telecommunications, transportation infrastructure, and now renewable energy.
In the last year, Fluor has made more than half a dozen announcements about new clean energy engineering projects its contracting on.
Among those projects are three 50-megawatt concentrating solar power installations in Spain. All of those contracts were signed with Elecnor S.A., according to press releases.
The company is also doing the feasibility study and engineering legwork for a proposed 5-gigawatt solar array in South Africa, according to a release.
“This deal with SunPower is our first PV project,” said Brian Mershon, a Fluor spokesman.
The company, traditionally recognized for its work in oil and natural gas project construction, seems to be gaining a reputation in the renewable energy world. The number and percentage of its major accounts in the renewable energy sector is growing dramatically, Mershon said.
In addition to solar projects, the contractor has been working on carbon sequestration for coal-fired energy plants and hybrid generation projects, according to press releases.
“I wouldn’t say we’ve changed directions,” Mershon said. “We build what our clients want us to build. And this is obviously a thriving industry right now.”
He said Fluor was involved in building the largest solar power plant of its time in California about 20 years ago, which helped the company to have some grounding in the renewable energy world.
“We were able to draw some expertise from that experience ad place some emphasis on it going forward,” he said. “The renewable sector is an important part of our business now.”