Lightsource bp has reached its 152.5-MW commercial operationAC:/173-MWDC: The Bellflower Solar project, located about 40 miles east of Indianapolis in Henry and Rush counties. Lightsource bp developed, financed and owned and operated Bellflower Solar, and entered into a virtual power purchase agreement with the telecommunications company Verizon for the energy generated by Bellflower Solar.
“Verizon is committed to protecting our planet by supporting renewable energy generation and transitioning the US to a greener energy grid. The renewable energy produced by the Bellflower Solar project will help us achieve net zero operational emissions by 2035,” said James Gowan, SVP of Global Supply Chain and Sourcing and Chief Sustainability Officer at Verizon.
Lightsource bp has planted 800 acres of native plants under and around the solar panels that will last for decades. An additional 10 acres are devoted to lush pollinator gardens with more than 60 different types of flowering plants.
The area is also kept in agricultural production. A local commercial beekeeper manages the beehives and will produce honey from the solar farm, while another local farmer will raise sheep to help maintain the vegetation.
The solar farm is participating in research that will measure the ecological benefits of pollinator habitat at utility-scale solar sites. The research team is made up of the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Argonne National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
“The Bellflower project is an excellent example of our commitment to the responsible development of solar energy,” said Kevin Smith, Americas CEO of Lightsource bp. “In addition to delivering clean, affordable and reliable energy, Lightsource bp has a deep commitment to maximizing the sustainable benefits of our solar projects for communities, protecting ecosystems and enhancing biodiversity.”
The Bellflower project is expected to generate $30 million in property tax revenue to Rush and Henry counties over its lifetime, benefiting local schools and other community public services. Its operating budget of $2.4 million will be spent primarily in the region.
More than 350 people worked on site to build the facility to peak construction. SOLV Energy was the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project, which included the installation of more than 377,000 solar panels manufactured by Arizona-based First Solar; along with solar trackers manufactured by Array Technologies of New Mexico.
“Indiana is an emerging leader in the clean energy transition, and Bellflower is a shining example of how investments in solar power are benefiting Hoosiers. Large-scale projects like Bellflower bring economic benefits to the entire community through new job and training opportunities for residents, support for local schools and nonprofits, and revenue for area businesses that SOLV Energy partners with during construction,” said George. Hershman, CEO of SOLV. Energy
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