Lightsource bp has closed on a US$533 million financing package for the development of 480MW of solar PV across the US as the company continues to expand its operations in the country.
The funds will be used to start construction on its 135MWdc Conway Solar project located near Happy, Arkansas as well as on its 345MWdc Ventress Solar project near Baton Rouge in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana.
In both cases Lightsource bp will build, own and operate the facilities and has signed “long term” power purchase agreements (PPAs) with local entities. In Arkansas, power is being supplied to local utility Conway Corp and will be used to serve the City of Conway, while in Baton Rouge Lightsource bp has signed PPAs with McDonalds and eBay.
Construction on the Conway project will start in March, with full commercial operation expected in mid-2023. Meanwhile, construction has started on the Baton Rouge plant, with the project set to come online in late 2023.
Gibson Technical Services (GTS), a subsidiary of Orbital Energy Group, has been selected by Lightsource bp as the EPC contractor for the Conway plant, while LPL Solar was appointed as EPC for the Baton Rouge project.
Investors in Lightsource bp’s US$533 million portfolio financing package were some of the world’s most heavyweight financial institutions and include: HSBC Bank USA, ING Capital LLC, Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A. (New York Branch), NatWest, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered Bank.
In the last two years, the Lightsource bp team has raised over US$2.3 billion in financing for its projects in ten states across the US.
In near identical statements regarding both projects, Kevin Smith, CEO of Lightsource bp Americas, said “large-scale solar projects help strengthen local economies” and that the company looked forward to “bringing economic benefits” to the respective regions.
In December last year Lightsource bp closed on a US$100 million financing package for its 130MW Black Bear Solar energy project in Montgomery County, Alabama, which once complete will increase the state’s total installed solar capacity by more than 20%, according to the company.
And in October, it launched a 300MW solar project in Colorado that will “largely” power a local steel mill in what the company has said is a world first.
Globally, Lightsource bp is targeting 25GW of solar PV by 2025 after securing a US$1.8 billion financing facility in September 2021 that it said will help fund its global expansion.