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Lightsource bp starts commercial operation of 260-megawatt solar project in Texas

Release date:
14 January 2021
  • Renewable energy to power the equivalent of 41,000 homes
  • Project expected to offset 318,000 metric tons of C02 annually
  • Sustains generational farmland

HOUSTON – Lightsource bp today announced that its Impact Solar project, located in Lamar County, 120 miles northeast of Dallas, has successfully completed construction and entered full grid-connected commercial operation. Through a long-term agreement, bp will sell the energy generated by the 260-megawatt (MW) project. The project represents an investment of $250 million in the Texas region, with 320 workers on site during construction – 84% of which were local hires.


bp is aiming to be a net-zero company by 2050 or sooner. As part of the strategy, by 2030 bp plans to increase low carbon investments to around $5 billion a year. This includes developing around 50 gigawatts (GW) of net renewable energy generating capacity – a 20-fold increase on the 2.5GW to date.


"The Impact Solar project in Texas is one of the many ways we are turning our net zero ambition into action. This is a great example of how we are increasing our low carbon investment while leveraging bp’s expertise in the energy markets by trading the electricity generated from the project.”


Orlando Alvarez, bp’s senior vice president, gas & power trading Americas


Generation from the 260 MW Impact Solar project will deliver clean, cost-effective energy for the equivalent of more than 41,000 homes in the Texas market. By providing this renewable power, lightsource bp is eliminating the carbon equivalent of emissions from over 68,000 fuel-burning cars.


Kevin Smith, CEO of the Americas, Lightsource bp: “This project in Texas is a great example of how our joint venture with bp is furthering our shared mission to accelerate the implementation of solar. Since bp’s initial investment in the company in 2017 and our subsequent expansion into the U.S., the team has developed a pipeline of 8 gigawatts of large-scale solar projects at various stages of development in 20 states across the U.S. – with more than 2 gigawatts of executed power contracts representing almost $2 billion in near term projects.”


Enhancing resilience of landowners and their land


Impact Solar is on land that is leased to Lightsource bp from local landowners, providing families with a diversified source of reliable income for 25 or more years, and helping keep the land in the family for generations. For many farmers, the revenue from leasing a portion of their land for solar as a new type of crop can help them continue with their farming business.


Gerald Cooper, landowner: “With ranching or farming, there’s no guarantee of income. You make your own check out of dirt. With solar, you’re guaranteed a check at the end of the year. I still enjoy farming, but solar has allowed me to enjoy it more because I don’t have the dread of the market dropping or of drought, which has been our biggest challenge.”


Joy Cooper, landowner: “Our dad was born on the land, which has been in our family for over 100 years. With solar, we’re able to keep the land in the family. The number one thing is that we will still have a connection to the land, and we’re comfortable that Lightsource bp will be good stewards.”


Lightsource bp will boost biodiversity around the site by planting wildflowers to support bees and other pollinators, creating bird and bat shelters, and providing habitat for reptiles and amphibians. These initiatives were carefully designed to help improve and maintain the local ecosystem.

About Lightsource bp

Lightsource bp is a global leader in the development and management of solar energy projects, and a 50:50 joint venture with bp. Our purpose is to deliver affordable and sustainable solar power for businesses and communities around the world. Our team includes over 500 industry specialists, working across 14 countries. We provide a full service to our customers, from initial site selection, financing and permitting through to long-term management of solar projects. Lightsource bp in the U.S. is headquartered in San Francisco with development offices in Denver, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Houston. For more information visit lightsourcebp.com, follow us on Twitter @lightsourceBP and Instagram @lightsourcebp or view our LinkedIn page. 


For media inquiries, or to set up an interview with Kevin Smith or the landowners, please contact Mary Grikas at mary.grikas@lightsourcebp.com.