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The largest solar farm planned in Louisiana will be selling its power to retail giants McDonalds and eBay. 

Construction has begun on a giant solar production farm in Pointe Coupee Parish after the San Francisco-based firm behind the venture closed on a $533 million package to finance several projects in its portfolio.

Known as Ventress Solar, the 345-megawatt facility covers 2,732 acres near New Roads at 13330 Ventress Road and will supply renewable energy to McDonald’s and eBay, Lightsource bp announced Wednesday. Lightsource bp, a subsidiary of energy giant BP, touted the development as the biggest solar farm in Louisiana.

The firm expects the project to create 400 construction jobs over roughly two years and provide $30 million in increased tax revenues to Pointe Coupee as the facility is built. It also estimates the clean energy generated will curb about 450,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, or the equivalent of 99,000 fuel-burning cars.

“This unique partnership between Lightsource bp, eBay and McDonald’s is an example of how large brands can come together to drive meaningful impact at a local level,” Emma Cox, global renewable energy lead at McDonald’s, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to see our values come to life in a project like Ventress Solar and realize this important next step toward it coming online.”

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If projections hold steady, the solar farm should power up by late 2023. Lightsource bp will be the plant’s long-term operator.

Lightsource bp selected LPL Solar as its engineering, procurement and construction, or EPC, contractor for the photovoltaic solar plant at the site. Ampirical Solutions, based in Covington, will be the EPC for a substation and a switchyard.

Lightsource bp pulled the $533 million financing package together from six lenders as part of a 480-megawatt group of projects. The investors include HSBC Bank USA, ING Capital LLC, Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A., NatWest, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered Bank.

As leaders behind other solar projects have applied for economic incentives through the stated Industrial Tax Exemption Program, Ventress Solar instead sought a PILOT, or payments in lieu of taxes, deal. The agreement was approved by the Pointe Coupee Parish Council in May.


Email Robert Stewart at RStewart@TheAdvocate.com or follow him on Twitter, @ByRobertStewart.