Solar farm to help thousands of Alabamians save money on electricity bill

Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 7:08 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A new solar farm in Montgomery County will provide low-cost, renewable energy to thousands of customers in the state.

Global solar leader Lightsource BP, together with the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority (AMEA), celebrated the dedication of its 130 MWdc / 100 MWac Black Bear Solar project Thursday.

The more than 280,000 solar panels will bring affordable, sustainable electricity to nearly 350,000 AMEA customers in Alabama.

“In times of volatile fuels that we’ve experienced over the last few months and the last year due to the war in Ukraine and other reasons, this facility will help stabilize costs as we see it,” said AMEA president and CEO Fred Clark. “If I had this project in our mix of resources during 2022, we would have saved $12 million.”

Over the next 20 years, the solar farm is expected to save AMEA about $40 million and will save customers in the 11 cities they serve money on their power bill.

AMEA is a coalition of municipal electric utilities that provides power to the cities of Alexander City, Dothan, Fairhope, Foley, LaFayette, Lanett, Luverne, Opelika, Piedmont, Sylacauga and Tuskegee.

“Not only do they get a nice low-cost price, but it’s without any emissions,” said LightSource BP CEO Kevin Smith.

Lightsource BP built the $100 million facility. The company has invested 2 ½ billion dollars in similar projects across the U.S. and this project is one of the biggest. Smith says solar power is becoming one of the most popular forms of electricity today.

“My view is it’s going to be a solar world,” Smith said.

In addition to proving clean energy, the project brought nearly 500 jobs to Montgomery County and will contribute over $7 million in property tax revenue to county schools.

“We are grateful to AMEA and Lightsource BP for their significant announcement in Montgomery and congratulate them on the completion of this important project,” Montgomery County Commission Chair Doug Singleton said in a written statement. “This project will provide considerable support to Montgomery County schools, dollars the school system otherwise would not receive. This is a major economic development project for the rural part of our county with our strong corporate partner in Lightsource bp.”

The development of the project started in 2017. Lightsource BP will own and operate the project and sell 100% of its energy to AMEA over a 20-year period.

  • Black Bear Solar project offsets more than 173,252 metric tons of carbon emissions each year
  • Brings $100 million private capital investment into new, local energy infrastructure for Alabama
  • Generates enough electricity to power 20,000 Alabama homes

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