AMEA and Lightsource bp partner to bring 130 megawatts of affordable, dependable, solar energy to Alabama communities 

  • 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

MONTGOMERY, Alabama – Global solar leader Lightsource bp, together with the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority (AMEA), today celebrated the dedication of its 130 MWdc / 100 MWac Black Bear Solar project. The partners unveiled one of Alabama’s largest solar farms which will bring affordable, local, sustainable electricity to AMEA’s 11 Member municipal utilities. 

Located 15 miles from AMEA’s headquarters, Black Bear will deliver solar energy to AMEA under a 20-year power sales agreement from Lightsource bp. The project acts as a hedge against price volatility in the natural gas market while saving AMEA a minimum of $40 million over the initial 20-year power contract. 

“AMEA is saving money with a home-grown, renewable resource that helps us provide dependable, economical power to our communities,” said Fred D. Clark, Jr., President and CEO of AMEA. “Combined with a fixed price contract for electricity from Black Bear Solar for the next 20 years, we’re building more long-term stability and diversity into our energy portfolio.” 

Boosting economic development and job creation

Black Bear Solar was built using more than 280,000 ultra-low carbon solar panels manufactured by Arizona-based First Solar, solar trackers manufactured by New Mexico-based Array Technologies, and foundational piles on which the trackers sit manufactured by Mississippi-based Attala Steel. More than 400 people worked to construct the facility, the majority local workers. 

“This project is a great example of how solar is a job engine for Americans,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of Lightsource bp Americas. “Black Bear Solar created hundreds of U.S. jobs across the supply chain, supporting domestic manufacturing and helping build long-term careers for our clean energy future.” 

The Montgomery County Commission and Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce were valuable partners to both AMEA and Lightsource bp, helping bring this project to realization through their efforts to foster innovative projects that drive economic development and local tax revenue. In addition to providing jobs, clean energy and bill savings to AMEA’s Members and their customers, the project will contribute over $7 million in property tax revenue to county schools over the project life.  

“We are grateful to AMEA and Lightsource bp for their significant announcement in Montgomery and congratulate them on the completion of this important project,” said Montgomery County Commission Chair Doug Singleton. “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 Montgomery Chamber congratulates AMEA and Lightsource bp on this groundbreaking endeavor,” said Cedric Campbell, 2022 Chair of the Montgomery Chamber. “Innovative collaborations among public and private sector partners like this will power business and economic prosperity for the region for years to come with clean, low-cost, and low-impact renewable energy.” 

The Black Bear Solar project is in commissioning and currently generating electricity into the grid and will be fully operational in November 2022. 

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