British energy giant BP, whose U.S. headquarters is in Houston, has started construction on a 187-megawatt solar farm about 10 miles northeast of Corpus Christi.
The Peacock Solar facility will generate power for a nearby chemical complex operated by Gulf Coast Growth Ventures, a joint venture between Spring-based energy company ExxonMobil and SABIC, a Saudi Arabian chemical conglomerate whose products are used to make clothes, food containers, packaging, agricultural film, and construction materials. SABIC’s Americas headquarters is in Houston.
Gulf Coast Growth Ventures opened the plant in 2022. The joint venture says the ethylene cracker and derivatives complex, located northwest of the town of Gregory, employs about 600 people.
BP says the solar project, which is expected to create about 300 construction jobs, will produce enough energy each year to power the equivalent of 34,000 homes. The solar park is scheduled to begin operating in the second half of 2024.
“We want to be good stewards of our environment,” Paul Fritsch, president of Gulf Coast Growth Ventures, says in a BP news release. “Once online, the solar-generated electricity will be used to partially power our plant and help reduce emissions in support of a net-zero future.”
At full capacity, Peacock’s renewable power could keep more than 256,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere each year, BP says.
BP’s joint venture partner, British solar company Lightsource BP, is developing the solar project and managing construction on behalf of BP. In 2017, BP bought a 43 percent stake in Lightsource and now holds a 50 percent stake.
Canadian contractor PCL Construction is providing construction and engineering services for the solar setup, and Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar and Norwalk, Connecticut-based GameChange Solar are supplying the solar equipment.