Lightsource BP to build largest solar farm in Kansas

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Lightsource BP has signed a 25-year power purchase and asset acquisition agreement with Mid-Kansas Electric Company (Mid-Kansas) Inc. An affiliate of Sunflower Electric Power Corp., Mid-Kansas is a cooperatively operated wholesale generation and transmission utility serving members across the state of Kansas.

Located in Stanton County, Kan., the 20-megawatt project will be built, owned and operated by Lightsource BP. Mid-Kansas will be purchasing all of the solar energy from the facility. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2019. When completed, the project will be the largest solar facility in Kansas.

“Harnessing the power of the sun is not a new concept. The economics are what have changed,” said Steve Epperson, Mid-Kansas Chairman of the Board. “The decreasing cost of photovoltaic technology, along with other industry dynamics, makes it the right time to bring solar energy into our generation mix.” Lightsource BP will provide the capital requirements for project financing and construction.

In addition to generating cost-effective on-peak energy and capacity, the solar facility will also reduce loading on a transmission line that is nearing full capacity, thus deferring or eliminating a costly upgrade requirement for the Mid-Kansas transmission system.

“We are delighted to team up with Mid-Kansas and Sunflower to deliver this landmark project,” said Lightsource BP’s North America Chief Commercial Officer Katherine Ryzhaya. “It is energizing to see solar be both a cost-effective power resource and a viable alternative to infrastructure upgrades. This project is a win-win for the communities of western Kansas.”

Lightsource BP is actively developing projects for cooperative, municipal and investor-owned utilities throughout the United States. “Solar economics have crossed a critical threshold of competitiveness versus traditional power sources,” said Ryzhaya. “We understand the needs of generation and transmission operators, and we are aligned in our mission to deliver cost savings and clean energy supply to their customers.”

The project has been collaboratively developed with the National Renewable Cooperative Organization (NRCO), which worked with its member-owner Mid-Kansas in structuring the Lightsource BP partnership.

“NRCO is pleased to have helped another one of its electric cooperative owners develop and contract solar capacity for its portfolio,” said Eric Spigelman, Director of Renewables Development. “Johnson Corner solar is a shining example of how a partnership approach can create significant value. NRCO applauds Mid-Kansas and Lightsource BP on their transaction.”

— Solar Builder magazine

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