Lightsource bp, AMEA reveal 130MW PV project and PPA agreement   

Lightsource bp used thin film solar modules made by First Solar in the Black Bear project. Image: Lightsource bp.

Lightsource bp and the wholesale power provide Alabama Municipal Electric Authority (AMEA) have unveiled their 130MW Black Bear Solar project that will provide electricity to AMEA’s 11 member public power utilities.

Billed as “one of Alabama’s largest solar farms” and located 15 miles from AMEA’s headquarters, Black Bear will deliver solar power to AMEA under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) from Lightsource bp.

The project is in commissioning and currently generating electricity into the grid and will be fully operational in November 2022.  

Lightsource bp said the project will act as a hedge against price volatility in the natural gas market that has seen power prices surge across the world, saving AMEA a minimum of US$40 million over the 20-year power contract. 

“AMEA is saving money with a home-grown, renewable resource that helps us provide dependable, economical power to our communities,” said Fred Clark, president and CEO of AMEA.

“Combined with a fixed price contract for electricity from Black Bear Solar for the next 20 years, we’re building more long-term stability and diversity into our energy portfolio.” 

More than 280,000 PV modules made by US thin film manufacturer First Solar went into the construction of Black Bear, while another US company, Array Technologies, provided the solar trackers. Steel used in the project came from Mississippi-based Attala Steel.

“This project is a great example of how solar is a job engine for Americans,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of Lightsource bp Americas. “Black Bear Solar created hundreds of U.S. jobs across the supply chain, supporting domestic manufacturing and helping build long-term careers for our clean energy future.” 

Lightsource bp has made a flurry of announcements over the past couple of months. At the start of October, development was approved on a large Arkansas PV project, while a week later the company closed financing for a 210MW project in Brazil, where is has also been signing PPAs with local companies to develop projects.

In August, it started construction on its 400MW Wellington North and 90MW Wunghnu solar farms in New South Wales and Victoria, respectively

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