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Lightsource BP and US utility Sunflower Electric Power Corporation have announced the commercial operation of the largest solar energy plant in Kansas.

The 437 million Johnson Corner Solar Project, approximately 2 miles southwest of Johnson City in Stanton County, began commercial operation on April 7 to provide clean and cost-effective electricity to rural consumers served by six utility cooperatives in Kansas.

Lighthouse BP has built and will own and operate the 20MW facility following the signing of a 25-year power purchase agreement with Sunflower Electric Cooperative.

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The project will generate enough energy to power 4,900 households and more than doubles the state’s utility-scale solar capacity, previously at 14.1MW.

The project will help utilities in the region to avoid the investment required to build new energy generation resources to meet growing demand.

Stuart Lowry, the CEO of Sunflower, said: “The Johnson Corner Solar Project adds yet another renewable fuel source to our diversified generation portfolio, which is designed to protect both the affordability and reliability of the energy we provide to our members.”

“Lightsource BP is pleased to be part of this project and in helping to keep rates low for electric cooperative members due to value derived from clean and low cost energy supply and transmission savings,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of Lightsource BP in the Americas.

The project created more than 200 jobs during peak construction.