Bellflower Solar farm begins operations
London-based Lightsource bp said Wednesday that commercial operation of its 152-megawatt Bellflower Solar farm in Henry and Rush counties has begun. The $169 million project is expected to generate enough energy to power the equivalent of nearly 27,000 homes annually.
Lightsource has also entered into a virtual power purchase agreement with Verizon to acquire the power generated from the solar farm. The company said the farm could offset the equivalent of 202,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, which Verizon added will help reach its sustainability goals.
“Verizon is committed to protecting our planet by supporting the production of renewable energy and the transition to a greener U.S. energy grid,” Verizon Chief Sustainability Officer James Gowen said in a news release. “The renewable energy produced by the Bellflower Solar project will help us achieve net zero operational emissions by 2035.”
In addition to providing solar power, Lightsource planted 800 acres of vegetation under and around the solar panels with native species beneficial to pollinators and other wildlife.
The company said the solar farm will be part of a research study conducted by the University of Illinois Chicago, the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, the Argonne National Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to measure the ecological benefits of pollinator habitats at utility-scale solar farms.
Lightsource said Bellflower Solar is expected to generate $30 million in property tax revenue for Rush and Henry counties over its lifetime.
The project is Lightsource’s first in Indiana. The company is in the midst of construction on the $250 million Honeysuckle Solar project near New Carlisle in St. Joseph County.