Utility-scale solar developer and manager Lightsource bp, is beginning commercial operation of its 152.5 MW AC/173 MW DC Bellflower Solar project, located about 40 miles east of Indianapolis in Henry and Rush Counties.
Lightsource bp developed, financed and will own and operate Bellflower Solar, and it has entered into a virtual power purchase agreement with Verizon with respect to the energy generated by Bellflower Solar.
The solar farm is expected to offset the equivalent of 202,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, improving air quality while furthering Verizon’s goal of being carbon neutral in its operations (scope 1 and 2) by 2035.
The Bellflower solar farm brings many environmental benefits to Indiana, in addition to improving air quality by reducing carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation.
Lightsource bp planted 800 acres of land under and around the solar panels with vegetation that includes native species beneficial to pollinators and other wildlife. An additional 10 acres has been dedicated to lush pollinator gardens with more than 60 different types of flowering plants.
The solar farm is participating in a national research study that will measure the ecological benefits of pollinator habitats at utility-scale solar. Land under and around the solar panels is also being kept in agricultural production. A local commercial beekeeper is managing hives and will produce solar farm honey. Another local Indiana farmer will graze sheep to help maintain the vegetation.
Kevin Smith, CEO of the Americas at Lightsource bp, says: “…. Beyond 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 improving biodiversity.”
Bellflower Solar 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.
The Bellflower project created hundreds of U.S. jobs across the supply chain, while supporting domestic manufacturers and low-carbon products. More than 350 people worked onsite during peak construction to build the facility. SOLV Energy was the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project, which included installation of 377,000+ ultra-low carbon solar panels manufactured by Arizona-based First Solar along with smart solar trackers manufactured by New Mexico-based Array Technologies.