Lightsource bp closes on $100 million financing for Alabama solar project

The 130-megawatt Black Bear Solar energy project will increase Alabama’s total installed solar capacity by more than 20%.

Lightsource bp has closed on a $100 million financing package for its 130-megawatt Black Bear Solar energy project in Montgomery County.

Lightsource bp has secured a power contract with Alabama Municipal Electric Authority, which helped it obtain the financing from Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank. Debt for the project was provided by Banco Santander, based in Spain and one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., a financial group headquartered in Tokyo. The balance of the equity requirements will be invested by Lightsource bp.

“This project demonstrates the positive impacts that result from partnerships with shared goals to reduce carbon emissions, deliver affordable electricity, create jobs and contribute to local communities,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of the Americas for Lightsource bp. “It’s also a testament to the cost-effectiveness and bankability of solar energy that world-class leaders are supporting this project, and that AMEA has agreed to purchase the electricity on a long-term basis to the substantial benefit of its members.”

AMEA is a wholesale power provider for 11 public power utilities in Alabama, which serve some 350,000 customers in Alexander City, Dothan, Fairhope, Foley, LaFayette, Lanett, Luverne, Opelika, Piedmont, Sylacauga and Tuskegee. The contract between AMEA and Lightsource bp calls for Lightsource bp to finance, develop, build, own and operate the solar facility, delivering energy to AMEA under a 20-year power purchase agreement. The project will deploy more than 350,000 solar panels across 800 acres.

“AMEA is excited about our partnership with Lightsource bp. This large-scale solar project will help diversify AMEA’s fuel resources and will continue to provide low-cost electricity to our members’ customers,” said Fred Clark, president and CEO of AMEA.

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Black Bear Solar is expected to contribute almost $7 million in property tax revenue to county schools over the first 35 years of the project life. The 130-megawatt project will increase the state’s total installed solar capacity by more than 20% and generate enough electricity to power more than 20,000 homes.

Lightsource bp is a joint venture between Lightsource and bp. Headquartered in San Francisco, it has development offices in Denver, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Austin and has more than 600 employees working across 15 countries. It provides full scope development, from initial site selection to long-term management of solar projects and power sales to clients.

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