Energy major BP will install its first utility solar project developed entirely on its own, not through its lightsource bp 50:50 joint venture development arm. The project, Arche Solar, is a 134 MWdc solar facility in Fulton County, Ohio, which has secured a corporate power purchase agreement (PPA) with social media company Meta for a data center in New Albany, Ohio.
The project uses ultra-low carbon thin-film modules supplied by First Solar, which holds a multi-year agreement with BP. At the time of its 2021 supply agreement, the companies agreed to lightsource bp suppling clean energy to the solar module manufacturer’s Ohio operations. Arche Solar is located on 650 acres of private land in Gorham Township, Ohio, 50 miles due west of First Solar’s Perrysburg, Ohio facilities. Energy generated at the Arche Solar plant will be delivered to an existing substation located adjacent to a 138 kilovolt transmission line.
Arche Solar was part of a pipeline of projects BP purchased through its June 2021 acquisition of an 7X Energy project portfolio for $220 million. As part of the deal, BP acquired a 9 GW project development pipeline which expanded its renewable energy pipeline from 14GW to 23GW.
During Arche Solar’s construction, the project will employ 200 workers for installation, while the project provides enough power to supply 20,000 homes with clean energy, the equivalent of 155,900 metric tons of greenhouse gases avoided per year.
The Ohio Power Siting Board approved 7X Energy’s site permit for the project in April 2021. The project is projected to generate $30 million in tax revenue over its anticipated lifespan of 35+ years.
The project is part of BP’s plans to develop 20 GW of net renewable generating capacity by 2025 and 50GW by 2030.
“This agreement shows how companies can create jobs, invest in the US economy, and at the same time support net zero ambitions and help the world reduce carbon emissions,” said David Lawler, chairman and president of BP America. “It’s another example of bp partnering to accelerate change and becoming an integrated energy company – one that can help corporations, countries and cities decarbonize.”
McCarthy Building Companies was retained as the main contractor for Arche Solar.
The project will use solar trackers from Nextracker.
In November 2021, BP and Lightsource bp and placed multi-year orders for up to 5.4 GWdc combined of First Solar solar modules. Under the deal, Lightsource bp bought up to 4.3 GWdc of modules for its project portfolio share, while BP agreed to buy 1.1 GWdc of modules for its respective projects owned.
The framework agreements provide modules for delivery between 2023 and 2025. Under the BP agreement, First Solar has firm orders for 1.55 GWdc of modules in 2023, 1.3 GWdc in 2024, and 1.55 GWdc in 2025.
With 916 MW of solar installations, Ohio ranks 26th in the nation for solar, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. The Buckeye State has an aggressive five-year development pipeline of 8.83 GW, which, like PJM states like Indiana and Pennsylvania, could push the Ohio up into the teens in SEIA rankings.
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