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