Honeysuckle Solar | 188MW in Indiana
About the Honeysuckle Solar project
Honeysuckle Solar is currently under construction in in St. Joseph County, east of the Town of New Carlisle. The $250 million privately funded renewable energy project will deliver home-grown electricity into the local grid, helping with Indiana’s energy independence and energy security. The project is expected to reach commercial operation starting in early 2024.
The Honeysuckle project will do even more than reduce carbon emissions for healthier air. Construction of the solar farm is creating jobs and supporting domestic supply chains. The solar farm will an provide a $30 million boost to the local community over the project life – additional funding for local schools and other services without a tax increase on its citizens. And Lightsource bp is delivering a $3 million economic development payment to St. Joseph County, to be allocated by county officials as they determine best serves the community.
In February 2023, Lightsource bp and AEP Energy Partners (AEPEP), a subsidiary of American Electric Power and one of the largest wholesale energy suppliers in the country, announced a Power Purchase Agreement for Honeysuckle Solar. AEPEP will purchase the solar energy the project generates, enough to power 27,000 U.S. homes. Solar energy delivers long-term price stability, decoupled from fuel price volatility.
Site selection & preliminary design
Permitting & environmental studies
Land management & biodiversity planning
Final engineering, financing & construction
Operation & maintenance
Decommissioning & recycling
Supporting local labor & domestic supply chains
Located about 10 miles west of South Bend, Indiana, Honeysuckle Solar is a great example of how utility-scale solar can create good paying American jobs and help grow our domestic supply chains.
- The project is creating approximately 200 direct construction jobs in addition to hundreds of U.S. jobs across the supply chain.
- South Bend based Inovateus Solar LLC is the construction contractor for the facility, with a focus on utilizing local labor for the mechanical, electrical and civil work on site. More than 75% of the direct construction force is local labor.
- Participating unions include: IBEW Local 153, IUOE Local 150, and LiUNA Local 645. The project is offering many opportunities for good paying jobs, with positions at all levels. Entry level workers are gaining hands-on experience and training, which can lead to enrollment in apprenticeship programs that create lifelong, family sustaining careers.
- The project is supporting U.S. manufacturers, with solar panels from First Solar, smart solar trackers from Array Technologies and steel from Nucor.
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. Joseph County.
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.
Solar energy projects can protect the environment in ways beyond GHG reduction
We will be planting vegetation under and around the solar panels to foster pollinators and other wildlife. Our goal is to improve habitat value, species composition, soil health and overall ecosystem functions at the solar farm and to reach biodiversity net gain over a 5-year timeframe at the project site. We are partnering with NGO Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund to monitor progress and achieve these goals.
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 Honeysuckle Solar farm to be a great project for the local community.
The project adheres to the ordinance adopted by St. Joseph County that provides local regulatory control over solar farms. It also includes our additional best practices for solar farm development, including:
Environment and aesthetics
- Planting new trees and other vegetation between the solar panels and public view where needed for screening and to provide habitat for local wildlife.
- Establishing minimum setback distances from adjacent property lines and public roads. Buffer zones will include a setback of not less than 75 feet from the center of any adjacent public roadway, along with a setback of at least 250 feet from any residence and 30 feet from any adjacent property.
- 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. We are using pollinator-friendly seed mixes and native plants to as ground cover around the facility, as required by the local ordinance.
Upkeep and decommissioning
- Making sure appropriate drainage and traffic mitigation are provided.
- 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.
Solar Synergy in Indiana: Our partnership with the Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund
Honeysuckle Solar to host co-located pollinator habitat
Indiana locals raise their voices
Community members share how Honeysuckle Solar is benefitting the community
Recycling and lifecycle management of solar panels
Our commitment to recycling solar panels
In addition to generating affordable, clean energy for Indiana’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 Honeysuckle Solar project will make a $250 million capital investment into the community, using private funding. This opens many doors for economic growth, including:
- Throughout the life of the project, $30 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.
- 200 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.
Information and resources
We’ve put together a collection of resources for anyone who’d like to know more about utility-scale solar energy.
Solar farm FAQs
We’ve put together a list of the most commonly asked questions, and their answers.
Solar energy basics