Lightsource bp announced that it has entered into a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) with Verizon Communications Inc. that will enable construction of a new 152.5 megawatt ac solar farm in Indiana, furthering Verizon's goal of being carbon neutral in its operations (scope 1 and 2) by 2035.
The Bellflower solar farm, located about 40 miles east of Indianapolis in Henry and Rush Counties, is expected to become operational in 2022.
"Through their corporate sustainability commitment, Verizon is spurring development of clean and affordable energy sources in the U.S. that benefit us all," said Kevin Smith, CEO of Lightsource bp in the Americas. "Working together, we're reducing carbon emissions from electricity generation for the overall grid while delivering substantial local economic benefits. Adding initiatives to enhance local biodiversity further multiplies solar's contribution to preserving our planet for future generations."
"Last year, Verizon issued its second $1 billion green bond, which will be used to fund long-term renewable energy purchase agreements – including this agreement with Lightsource bp – that support the construction of solar and wind facilities. These facilities will bring new renewable energy to the grids that power our networks," said James Gowen, Verizon's chief sustainability officer and vice president, supply chain operations. "Verizon is committed to supporting the transition to a greener grid by making substantial investments in renewable energy."
Local economic development
Solar projects can help strengthen local rural economies. 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. The project will create about 250 jobs during construction, with local labor and service requirements included in construction contracts. The operations budget for the project of $2.4 million each year will be primarily spent in the region.
Dual use solar – maximizing benefits to the environment and community
An action plan is underway for Bellflower Solar that aims to enhance local biodiversity. The plan is to create a pollinator friendly solar farm, designed in collaboration with ecology experts to restore and conserve pollinator habitat. The project will be part of pioneering university research on the benefits of co-locating pollinator habitat and solar installations.