150 MW Honeysuckle Solar farm gets final approval, Indiana

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The Honeysuckle solar farm in St. Joseph County, Indiana, has received its final approval from the county council to begin construction.

The project will be situated on more than 1,000 acres of farmland. The land is in an area roughly limited by U.S. 20 and Spruce, Tamarack, and Darden roads, just east of New Carlisle. There will be between 175 and 200 workers on the job site at its busiest.

The solar project first surfaced in May 2021. It was initially suggested by a renewable energy business by the name of RES. Later that year Lightsource BP took over the long-term farm leases required for the project.

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Expectatiuons for the Honeysuckle Solar farm

By the beginning of 2024, the project is anticipated to provide 150 megawatts of clean energy—enough to power around 24,500 homes—and three to five permanent jobs. It will reportedly return US$ 37M to the developer in the first 25 years of its existence.

However, the main benefit will come from the additional US$ 27.4M in real and property taxes it will provide for local taxing authorities. The property would only have produced US$ 1.9M in taxes if it had stayed agricultural during that time. This was revealed on the county’s economic development agreement with Lightsource BP.

Lightsource BP plans to cover the land with native pollinator plants and may employ sheep to assist keep weeds under control at the fenced-in site. The firm has the option to extend the lease agreements on the Honeysuckle project for an additional ten years.

The implementation of the project

Inovateus Solar, based in South Bend, will handle the project’s general construction. Lightsource BP has consented to use 75% local labor during the project’s construction phase.

In order to guarantee that each union received an undisclosed share of the work, County Council also required the firm to sign side deals with the local electrical workers’, operational engineers’, and laborers’ unions.