Global solar leader Lightsource bp and AEP Energy Partners (AEPEP), a subsidiary of American Electric Power and one of the largest wholesale energy suppliers in the country, have signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) for a 188 megawatt (dc) solar project located in New Carlisle about 10 miles west of South Bend, Indiana.
Once complete, the Honeysuckle Solar project will generate enough clean energy annually to power 27,000 U.S. homes and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 204,000 metric tons each year.
“AEP Energy Partners is proud to provide customers with integrated, carbon-free energy that fulfills their sustainability goals, delivers long-term price stability, and benefits the environment. Our partnership with Lightsource bp demonstrates our commitment to the development of new renewable resources that both empower local communities and support a cleaner, brighter energy future,” said Greg Hall, Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer, AEP.
Lightsource bp will finance, build, own and operate the facility and sell the solar energy it generates to AEP Energy Partners under a long-term PPA. Construction of the project has been initiated on site, with commercial operation starting in 2024. South Bend based Inovateus Solar LLC is the construction contractor for the facility, with a focus on utilizing local labor for the mechanical, electrical and civil work on site.
“This power purchase agreement is a great example of how energy buyers with sustainability goals such as AEP Energy Partners can work with us to spur the buildout of new solar projects that will improve the health and energy security of communities across America while helping strengthen local economies. As the owner and operator of the Honeysuckle solar farm, we look forward to bringing economic and environmental benefits to the region, along with fostering community partnerships,” said Kevin Smith, Lightsource bp’s CEO of the Americas.
The Honeysuckle solar farm will:
- Create approximately 200 direct construction jobs, primarily local, in addition to hundreds of U.S. jobs across the supply chain
- Support domestic manufacturers and low carbon products, with ultra-low carbon solar panels from First Solar, smart solar trackers from Array Technologies and steel from Nucor
- Bring $250 million of new, privately funded renewable energy infrastructure to Indiana
- Provide an estimated $30 million boost to the local community over the project life – additional funding for local schools and other services without a tax increase on its citizens
- Deliver a $3 million economic development payment to St. Joseph County to be allocated by county officials as they determine best serves the community.
Protecting the environment
Lightsource bp and AEP Energy Partners have a common mission to deliver affordable, reliable electricity to communities, while protecting the environment. While the primary purpose of solar is to reduce carbon emissions from electricity generation in order to mitigate climate change, Lightsource bp extends the benefits of solar energy further through their Responsible Solar approach. The goal is to build multiuse solar projects on which clean energy generation, agriculture, habitat and biodiversity enhancement share the land under and around the solar panels.
As part of this Responsible Solar approach, an action plan is underway for the Honeysuckle Solar project to achieve biodiversity net gains and foster pollinator habitat – ensuring that Honeysuckle will be a pollinator friendly solar farm.