Indiana solar project moves forward with tax equity deal

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Lightsource bp closed on an $85 million tax equity investment from Bank of America to support construction and operation of the 188 MW Honeysuckle Solar project.

Project Honeysuckle” has been in the works for at least three years, after RES launched the project, then was seeking a buyer and off taker.

Now with Lightsource bp as owner, it has plans to turn the solar power plant into a pollination station as well. In partnership with the Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund, a custom mix of vegetation is planted underneath the solar panels and around the site perimeter to provide food and shelter for critical pollinators and other wildlife.

In addition to being a home for pollinators, the Honeysuckle solar project will abate more than 204,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year 1, while creating additional benefits for community members and the local environment.

The project has created approximately 200 jobs during construction, and entry-level recruits have the opportunity to apply for apprenticeship programs with three unions represented on-site.

“A truly sustainable investment will create tangible social and economic benefits for people, in addition to fighting the climate crisis,” said Emilie Wangerman, Lightsource bp’s interim COO of the United States. “Bank of America is supporting a positive, long-term ripple effect beyond the solar farm itself.”

The $85 million investment marks Bank of America’s fifth tax equity transaction and seventh solar project with Lightsource bp totaling nearly 1.5GW.  Bank of America also participated in the debt financing that Lightsource bp raised for Honeysuckle Solar, alongside ING Capital LLC (ING), Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest and Societe Generale.

Located on 1,900 acres of land in St. Joseph County, Indiana, Honeysuckle Solar is scheduled to come online in early 2024 and will deliver power to off taker AEP Energy Partners (AEPEP) under a long-term power purchase agreement.

The 188 MW solar plant will help boost Indiana’s overall solar ranking, which the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) puts at 16th in the country in 2023, with 2.2 GW installed. SEIA expects it to rise to seventh place in five years.

Lightsource BP is now owned by British oil and gas conglomerate, BP, which said it will scale up Lightsource BP’s solar operations with the acquisition and will “target double digit equity returns.”. Lightsource bp, already active in the U.S., completed its first utility-scale solar installation in 2016. Since 2019, the Lightsource bp team has brought into operation or initiated construction on 3.2 GW of U.S solar projects with capital costs of nearly $4 billion in 11 states across the country.

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