Swinerton Renewable Energy

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Record Snow and Cold No Match for Swinerton

Contributor: Swinerton Blogger   |   August 04, 2014
Record Snow and Cold No Match for Swinerton

Last October, Swinerton Renewable Energy (SRE) started construction on an 11 MWAC project at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). Home to the Indy 500 and the Brickyard 400, the IMS opened in 1909. With seating for over 250,000 spectators, it is the largest sporting facility in the world. The IMS project was SRE’s fifth job in Indiana, and the team is confident their impact will lead to more work in the Midwest.

Located on a 70-acre site northeast of the track, the IMS project will generate clean, renewable power to the speedway’s utility grid. SRE provided engineering, procurement, and construction services for the ground-mounted, fixed-tilt solar array, while Clenera will provide long-term ownership and asset management.

Faced with one of the roughest winters on record, the project team completed the photovoltaic project on time this March. Because temperatures were so cold this winter, the frost level was driven down much deeper than normal. In many locations, the ground was frozen more 30 inches deep.  As a result, the local excavation contractor originally hired to do the trenching was unable to effectively dig through the frost.

SRE took over the excavation, and acted quickly by hauling a Vermeer saw on site from 2,000 miles away in California. The underground trenching for the site was then successfully completed in eight days, including a four-hour span where 1,000 feet of trench was drilled. A perfect example of Swinerton innovation in action, their solution exemplifies the SRE team’s
“can do” attitude.

Crazy Numbers on Indianapolis’ Winter of 2013-2014:
52.2 inches: Total snowfall                                                                                                 
4: Times in recorded history with consecutive months each seeing 15+ inches of snow
47: Days with highs below freezing
12: Days with lows below zero
12: Days with sub-zero low temperatures; most since 1983-1984
-15, -14: Temperatures on mornings of January 6-7; two coldest mornings on record since January 1994