Lightsource bp Starts Construction on Pollinator-Friendly Indiana Solar Project

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 12/21/2021, Location: North America

- Project will create about 200 jobs during construction
- Solar farm will provide over 1,000 acres of habitat for pollinator species and serve as a field testing site for academic ecological research
- Power contract with Verizon helped to facilitate financing

Lightsource bp has successfully closed on a $376 million multi-project financing package and mobilized construction on its 173 megawatt (dc) Bellflower Solar project, located about 40 miles east of Indianapolis in Henry and Rush Counties. A power purchase agreement with Verizon Communications Inc. announced in early 2021 was key to achieving this project milestone.

Kevin Smith, CEO of the Americas, Lightsource bp: “This project financing transaction is a demonstration of the continued confidence that top-tier investors and power offtakers have in Lightsource bp, and the quality of our solar assets. Our commitment to responsible solar development, such as the research we’re doing at Bellflower on co-locating pollinator habitat with solar, further multiplies solar’s contribution to preserving our planet for future generations.”

Project supported by world-class finance partners committed to growth of renewable energy
Bellflower Solar is part of a 466 megawatt, $376 million portfolio financing package for multiple solar projects. The tax equity investment for the portfolio was secured from Bank of America, marking its fourth transaction with Lightsource bp over the past two years. Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses, and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management, and other financial and risk management products and services. The company’s focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership helps it drive responsible growth.

Debt for the portfolio was provided by the following mandated lead arrangers:
- ING Capital LLC, a financial services firm offering a full array of wholesale financial lending products and advisory services to its corporate and institutional clients. ING Capital LLC is an indirect U.S. subsidiary of ING Bank NV, part of ING Group NV, a global financial institution.
- Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), a member of SMBC Group, a top-tier global financial group headquartered in Tokyo. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Inc. (SMFG) is the holding company of SMBC Group.
- HSBC Bank USA, National Association (HSBC Bank USA, N.A.), part of HSBC Group, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations, serving customers through wealth and personal banking, commercial banking, private banking, and global banking and markets segments.
- NatWest, a leading project financing lender in Europe and long-standing partner of Lightsource bp globally. They are a major retail and commercial bank that provides global market access and trading, financing, risk management and transaction banking services. In October 2021 NatWest Group announced an additional £100 billion for Climate and Sustainable Funding and Financing by the end of 2025.

The balance of the equity requirements will be invested by Lightsource bp.

Construction has mobilized, with the majority of the workers to be hired locally
Projects like Bellflower Solar can help strengthen local rural economies. The project is expected to generate $30 million in property tax revenue to Rush and Henry Counties over its life, benefitting local schools and other community public services. Its operations budget of $2.4 million each year will be primarily spent in the region. And the Bellflower project will create about 200 jobs during construction.

Construction has started with commercial operation expected by late 2022. SOLV Energy was selected by Lightsource bp as the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) Contractor for the project. SOLV has a proven track record of successfully building and operating large utility-scale projects across the U.S., including Lightsource bp’s Impact Solar project in Texas.

George Hershman, CEO of SOLV Energy: "Solar is a nationwide industry and job creator, and we're beginning to see large-scale PV projects growing in size and impact throughout the Midwest. Projects like Bellflower are not only expanding access to clean power across the country, but also providing valuable job and training opportunities to American workers in rural communities. SOLV Energy is excited to partner with Lightsource bp in Indiana."

Dual use solar – maximizing benefits to the environment and community
An action plan is underway for Bellflower Solar that aims to enhance local biodiversity while contributing to pioneering research on co-located pollinator habitat on solar farms, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technology Office. The site will host over 1,000 acres of high and low density pollinator friendly plantings to boost biodiversity and inform future low impact solar development. The research team consists of the University of Illinois Chicago, the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, the Argonne National Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.


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