Penn State Powers Up with Solar

Penn State announced that this month the University has begun purchasing renewable electricity generated from three Lightsource bp solar farms that have completed construction in Franklin County. The projects were initiated in early 2019 upon the signing of a 70 megawatt Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) under which Penn State would purchase 100% of the electricity generated by the projects constructed and operated by Lightsource bp.

In total, the solar farms will produce over 100 million kilowatt-hours of electricity in year one, supplying 25% of the University’s state-wide electricity needs and lowering Penn State’s greenhouse gas emissions by 57,000 mtCO2e per year, or the equivalent of removing 12,100 fuel-burning cars from the road. It will provide Penn State with estimated cost savings in year one of $272,000 and more than $14 million over the 25-year contract term.

David Gray, Vice President for Finance and Business and Treasurer, Penn State: “At a time when we are facing so many great challenges, the beginning of this 25-year power purchase agreement offers a bright moment and a true reflection of the university’s ability and commitment to not just grow, but to succeed in a way that enhances the health and sustainability of the planet and future generations.”

Beyond the carbon reduction and cost savings benefits of the solar farms, Penn State and Lightsource bp have a wider mission to maximize the sustainability impacts of solar farming in the U.S. with a comprehensive approach that fosters biodiversity, improves soil health, provides pollinator habitats, and is a long-term living laboratory for students to learn and innovate for our sustainable future.

Kevin Smith, CEO of the Americas, Lightsource bp: “This project is a great example of how, with proper planning and committed partners, utility-scale solar projects can bring a large range of benefits to communities – from providing clean and cost-effective electricity to boosting biodiversity and diversifying farm income.”

Furthermore, More than fifty Penn State students with a variety of majors, including business, engineering, and marketing have experienced, and will continue to have access to a variety of learning, research and internship opportunities related to the solar project.

Eric Barron, University President: “From planning to implementation and beyond, our students were granted firsthand, once-in-a-lifetime access to innovative learning and research opportunities related to the expanding renewable energy industry. These living lab experiences prepare students for new career possibilities, and a brighter future for all of us.”

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