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McDonald’s amping up solar energy in Southeast U.S. with big project

McDonald’s has signed its second solar energy agreement with Lightsource bp.

McDonald’s Corp. will buy the entire power output that comes out of a solar facility (“farm”) in Louisiana.

The fast-food giant and London-based Lightsource bp have entered into a power purchase agreement for a 145 MWac / 180 MWdc solar project in St. Landry Parish, La. The Prairie Ronde Solar project will generate an expected average of approximately 327,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable energy annually, equivalent to the average annual electricity consumption of 30,700 US homes once complete.

McDonald’s will purchase all the solar energy the project generates, equivalent to approximately 630 restaurants’ worth of renewable electricity annually. Lightsource will finance, build, own and operate the facility.

The deal helps advances McDonald’s commitment to climate action and its sustainability goals, while expanding Lightsource footprint of solar assets across the Southeast.

“Growing our partnership with Lightsource bp reaffirms our commitment to building a more sustainable McDonald’s system at a meaningful scale,” said Elaine Strunk, senior director global sustainability, McDonald’s. “Prairie Ronde Solar will contribute to our climate aspirations while adding a considerable amount of new renewable generation to the grid.”

[Read More: McDonald’s in innovative solar energy deal]

Construction of the project is expected to begin in early 2023, with commercial operation starting in late 2024.

The deal is McDonald’s second solar project in Louisiana in partnership with Lightsource. It brings Lightsource’s statewide total of solar assets to 525 megawatts, representing a cumulative half billion-dollar private investment.

“McDonald’s is a great example of a corporate buyer whose commitment to sustainability is driving massive investment in new clean energy infrastructure for America’s energy security and clean energy future,” said Kevin Smith, CEO, Lightsource bp, Americas.

Construction of the $170 million-plus privately funded solar farm will create approximately 250 construction jobs for 18 months, comprised primarily of local labor.

It will also provide an estimated $20 million boost to St. Landry Parish over the project life – creating additional funding for local schools and emergency services without a tax increase on its citizens or penalty to state funding for its schools

McDonald's has more than 40,000 locations in over 100 countries.  

Lightsource bp is a leader in the development and management of solar energy and energy storage projects and a 50:50 joint venture with bp.

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