Penn State - Smart Energy Decisions

Solar  -  October 19, 2020

Penn State begins purchasing 70 MW from solar project

Penn State University announced Oct. 15 that it began purchasing renewable electricity from a 70 MW solar project in Franklin County.

The university first completed the PPA with Lightsource bp in early 2019, agreeing to purchase 100% of the electricity generated by the three solar farms. The solar farms, which span 500 acres of local land, are expected to produce over 100 million kWh of electricity in its first year, enough to supply 25% of Penn State’s electricity needs state-wide.

Penn State expects the use of this clean energy to lower its greenhouse gas emissions by 57,000 metric tons of CO2e per year and result in estimated cost savings of $272,000 in the first year and more than $14 million over the 25-year contract term.

“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,” David Gray, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business and Treasurer at Penn State, said in a statement.

The creation and construction of the solar project was used as a learning opportunity for more than fifty Penn State students, who had the chance to work alongside Lighthouse bp throughout the process.

Penn State is currently pursuing a goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 from 2005 levels after just achieving its 2020 goal of reducing emissions 35% from the same baseline.


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