Lightsource bp, a UK-based renewables developer, has begun operations at the 135MW Conway Solar at Happy project in White County, Arkansas, US.

Built on 700 acres near the community of Happy, Arkansas, the solar farm is 55 miles (88.5km) from the state capital, Little Rock.

The project will generate enough clean energy to meet the needs of 21,000 US households.

The solar farm can offset more than 162,800 tonnes of CO₂ emissions annually. 

Lightsource bp has agreed to sell the power generated from the solar farm to Conway Corp, a Conway city-owned utility, under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA).

Lightsource bp USA interim COO Emilie Wangerman stated: “At Lightsource bp, we believe that a solar farm can be so much more than an energy facility. By sharing in this vision, our partners at Conway Corp are bringing a host of benefits to their community, from affordable energy to ecosystem health, economic development and beyond.”

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Conway Corp CEO Bret Carroll stated: “Work on this project began in 2019 and it is one of the most significant projects for Conway Corp since our incorporation in 1929. I am proud of the team that worked on this project and the way it fulfils key parts of our mission by providing reliable and environmentally sound electricity to our community.

“I also appreciate our partnership with Lightsource bp [which has been a] great partner from the very beginning.”

Lightsource bp invested $125m in the project’s development and construction.

The debt package was provided by a consortium of banks including HSBC Bank USA, ING Capital, Intesa Sanpaolo, National Association, NatWest, Société Générale and Standard Chartered Bank.

The company selected Orbital Energy’s subsidiary Gibson Technical Services as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project.

The project is powered by 295,000 solar modules from First Solar with smart solar trackers supplied by Array Technologies. A total of 300 local jobs were created during the construction period.