Lightsource bp has successfully closed on a $327 million financing package and mobilized construction on the 313-MWDC/250-MWAC Driver Solar project located near Osceola in Mississippi County, Arkansas.
Lightsource bp developed, permitted and financed the project and will construct the facility under a build-transfer agreement with Entergy Arkansas that was announced last year. Upon completion, Driver Solar will be the largest solar farm in Entergy Arkansas’ portfolio as well as the largest in Arkansas, generating enough energy to power more than 50,000 homes.
“One of our key commitments to customers is to help them find economic solutions to meet their sustainability goals,” said Laura Landreaux, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas. “Driver Solar plays a big role in providing savings to all customers and supporting businesses like U. S. Steel as they continue to advance their own clean energy future. These partnerships are helping to drive incredible growth in our state and will benefit our communities for decades to come.”
Located adjacent to both U. S. Steel’s Big River Steel facility and its recently announced $3 billion expansion, Driver will help the steel company produce advanced sustainable steel products.
“This project shows that strong partnerships bring strong results for customers, communities and the environment. Once completed, the energy generated will be used throughout the facility, including the production of our verdeX steel, which is produced with fewer emissions and with up to 90% recycled material,” said Daniel R. Brown, senior VP of advanced technology steelmaking and COO for Big River Steel. “U.S. Steel is pleased to collaborate with partners in Mississippi County to find sustainable solutions that are good for people and planet.”
In 2021, Lightsource bp acquired the Driver Solar project which was under development from Acadian Renewable Energy, a joint venture among affiliates of SunChase Power and Eolian, who initiated the project’s development in 2016.
In addition to the local economic value that Driver Solar is bringing to Mississippi County through its benefits to the steel mill and its expansion, the solar project will:
Driver Solar is expected to create approximately 400 construction jobs from the local workforce and subcontractors; and provide an estimated $1.3 million tax growth for Mississippi County annually over the life of the project.
Two monarch butterfly habitats are being planted on more than 70 acres of the project site.
Construction has started on Driver Solar, with commercial operation expected by late 2024. Moss Construction was selected by Lightsource bp as its EPC contractor for the project and will install more than 650,000 solar panels manufactured by Arizona-based First Solar and smart solar trackers from New Mexico-based Array Technologies.
“We are pleased to see Driver Solar and Lightsource bp reach this significant milestone,” said David Groberg, co-founder and principal of SunChase Power. “Thanks to the tremendous support from landowners and the local community, Northeast Arkansas will be home to a reliable source of cost-effective, renewable energy.”
News item from Lightsource bp