Prairie Ronde Solar | 180MW in Louisiana
Site Selection & Preliminary Design
Permitting & environmental studies
Land management & biodiversity planning
Final engineering, financing & construction
Operation & maintenance
Decommissioning & recycling
About the Prairie Ronde Solar project
The Prairie Ronde Solar project is currently under construction in St. Landry Parish. Lightsource bp is building and will own and operate the privately funded $170 million renewable energy project that will deliver electricity into the local grid, helping with Louisiana’s energy independence and energy security.
In February 2023, Lightsource bp and McDonald’s Corporation announced a Power Purchase Agreement for Prairie Ronde Solar. McDonald’s will purchase all of the solar energy the project generates, equivalent to approximately 630 restaurants’ worth of renewable electricity annually. Commercial operation of the project is expected to begin in late 2024.
The Prairie Ronde project will do even more than reduce carbon emissions for healthier air. Construction of the solar farm will create 250 direct construction jobs, the majority of which will be filled by members of the local labor force. The solar farm will provide a boost of more than $20 million to St. Landry Parish public services such as local school systems and emergency services over the life of the project without a tax increase on its citizens. And Lightsource bp has committed to dedicating $250,000 in funds to philanthropic activities and charitable donations to local St. Landry Parish organizations.
Investing in St. Landry Parish
Lightsource bp is looking forward to being long-term members of the St. Landry Parish community. We’re pleased to announce that we are dedicating $250,000 toward a St. Landry Parish Community Fund. We are working with your community members to ensure the fund is used for initiatives that benefit the community to address your needs and what matters most.
So far, we are dedicating $150,000 toward the Welcome Center at the Veterans Memorial and $10,000 to Plaisance Middle school for football helmets.
Solar is a passive form of technology, generating emissions-free electricity that adds security to our country’s energy mix, along with independence from foreign sources. This, combined with its ability to bring our country’s electricity costs down makes it an ideal energy source for the US.
- Solar farms are quiet, clean neighbors. They don’t emit any noise beyond the site boundaries and have a low profile that can be designed with screening to limit project visibility from neighbors’ residences and nearby roads.
- With a long-term land management plan, studies have shown that solar farms can meaningfully increase wildlife populations and biodiversity.
- Solar farms can help strengthen rural economies by creating local jobs, contributing significant annual revenue for local governments, providing dependable revenue to landowners in order to supplement farm income, and bringing multimillion dollar annual operations budgets that are primarily spent in the region.
Community dialogue – we want to be a good neighbor
At Lightsource bp, we not only develop solar projects. We own and operate them, making us a committed long-term partner in St. Landry Parish.
A critical step in all of our projects is soliciting community feedback to help shape our final plans. We welcome your questions and comments to ensure that our Prairie Ronde Solar farm is a great project for your community.
We have a dedicated Community Relations team that’s here to answer your questions and ensure that Lightsource bp is an active member in your community. To connect with a Community Relations Manager please email USCommunityRelations@lightsourcebp.com.
Our Responsible Solar approach
Lightsource bp has a deep commitment to delivering safe, clean and affordable energy, as well as maximizing the environmental sustainability and positive social impacts of each of our projects. We call this approach Responsible Solar. We pay attention to every detail, from the fencing we choose to the vegetation we plant. As the project owner and operator, we want our Prairie Ronde Solar farm to be a great project for the local community.
In developing the Prairie Ronde Solar project, we have adhered to the ordinance adopted by St. Landry Parish Government, which provides local regulatory control over solar farms. We have implemented our best practices for solar farm development, in adherence with the local ordinance, including:
Environment and aesthetics
- Adding buffer zones of greenspace with trees and shrubs between the solar panels and public view, with minimum 150-foot public road setbacks and 150-foot minimum home setbacks.
- Installing an agricultural game style fence, consistent with the local aesthetic of the area, around the project as opposed to industry-standard chain link fencing.
- Planting vegetation under and around the solar panels, with a seed mix customized for the local area in order to increase biodiversity and improve soil health. Our plans include restoring an area to Louisiana’s native Coastal Prairie ecosystem.
Upkeep and decommissioning
- Development of comprehensive drainage and traffic management plans, which include plans and guarantees for remediation if any damage is done to Parish infrastructure during construction.
- Budgeting for consistent maintenance and upkeep of the facility.
- Committing to recycling all solar panels: Lightsource bp has a zero landfill policy for solar panels.
- Preparing a full decommissioning plan to ensure that the project will be removed at the end of its life.
Responsible Solar Stories
Find out more about our Responsible Solar approach in action.
Habitat creation and preservation at Prairie Ronde Solar
Learn about three ways we are creating natural habitat at Prairie Ronde Solar.
Recycling and lifecycle management of solar panels
Our commitment to recycling solar panels
Mitigating the impacts of extreme weather on solar farms
Building more resilient solar projects
In addition to generating affordable, clean energy for Louisiana’s electrical grid, development of the land with home-grown solar energy has several additional long-term benefits, including:
- Rest and regeneration of the land during the project’s life, improving soil health and preserving it for future use.
- Healthy groundcover under and around the panels that boosts local biodiversity, creating a stable, long-term home for plants, pollinators, birds and other wildlife.
- Opportunity for integrated agriculture such as sheep grazing or bee keeping.
- Rural resilience through continued local ownership of the land.
- Energy security and independence from foreign sources of fuel.
- Healthier air quality by generating electricity with no polluting carbon dioxide emissions.
Economic growth for the community
The Prairie Ronde Solar project will make a $170+ million capital investment into the community, using private funding. This opens many doors for economic growth, including:
- Throughout the life of the project, $20+ million in new tax revenue will be generated, benefitting local school systems and many other community public services – without an increase in taxes to local residents.
- 250 jobs will be created during peak construction of the project, prioritizing the hiring of local subcontractors and local labor.
- Lightsource bp is committed to supporting philanthropic activities and charitable donations to local organizations. We are dedicating $250,000 toward a St. Landry Parish Community Fund.
Information and resources
We’ve put together a collection of resources for anyone who’d like to know more about utility-scale solar farms, or solar energy in general.
Solar energy basics
Solar farm FAQs
We’ve put together a list of the most commonly asked questions, and their answers.