University of Pennsylvania signs 220 MW PPA with Community Energy for state’s largest PV project

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The University of Pennsylvania, founded in 1740, signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the creation of a 220 MW solar project that is expected to be the largest solar power project in the Commonwealth. The project developer is Pennsylvania-based Community Energy.

Until now, the largest solar array in the state was a 70 MW solar array being developed by Lightsource BP on a total of 500 acres rented from seven Franklin County farm owners announced last year.

The 220 MW project (across two sites and contracts) brings the University closer to its goal of a 100% carbon neutral campus by 2042 and the state closer to the 6 GW solar goals of advocates like Pennsylvania’s solar trade association, PASEIA.

Pennsylvania has installed a total of 491 MW through Q4 2019 to rank 22nd among U.S. states, according to SEIA.

The University will purchase all the power produced at the two sites in Central Pennsylvania – equivalent to about 75% of the total electricity demand of the campus and the University’s Health System – for 25 years at a rate competitive with conventional electricity prices.

“This agreement not only allows the University of Pennsylvania to continue to demonstrate strong leadership on climate action, but it also provides a competitive price on electricity,” said Anne Papageorge, VP of the University’s Division of Facilities & Real Estate Services in a release.

Jay Carlis, executive VP of Community Energy said, “This voluntary power purchase agreement with the University of Pennsylvania is the gold standard for renewable energy procurement.”

Twenty-year old Community Energy has developed and financed 1,900 MW of renewable energy power projects in the U.S., including 1,200 MW of solar power.

Pennsylvania would save $619 million a year in wholesale power costs, and would lower the costs to the multi-state PJM Interconnection region by $3 billion a year if 7.5 GW of solar was installed by 2030, according to a study commissioned by Community Energy from PowerGEM.