Pennsylvania’s state government is going 50% solar with ambitious build program

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Pennsylvania executed one of the largest solar commitments by any state government in the country, after Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said the state will power nearly half of the government’s electricity needs through seven new solar energy arrays totaling 191 MW.

Lightsource bp will build, own, and operate the solar arrays. The commonwealth’s General Services agency contracted with utility Constellation to secure a 15-year fixed-price supply agreement.

The governor’s office said that Solar Renewable Energy Credits generated by the projects will be retired upon purchase by the commonwealth, ensuring that the SRECs are not used by another entity.

The portfolio will be built across the state and is expected to go into operation on Jan. 1, 2023. The projects are part of the governor’s GreenGov initiative, Project to Utilize Light and Solar Energy (PULSE).

The portfolio will also boost the state’s total installed solar capacity, which currently sits at 664 MW. This is an impressive figure on a national scale, but Pennsylvania still lags behind its Mid-Atlantic neighbors Maryland (1.3 GW), New Jersey (3.6 GW), and New York (2.7 GW). The Keystone State is ahead of much-smaller Delaware (150 MW).

Specific capacities for each of the projects were not released, although site locations were.  The seven installations will be built across six counties: Columbia, Juniata, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, and York. All totaled, the projects are expected to cut carbon dioxide emissions statewide by 157,800 metric tons each year.

Besides powering government electricity needs with in-state renewable generation, the state aims to cut its energy use at least 3% annually; replace 25% of the state vehicle fleet with electric vehicles; and attain high-performance energy standards in building construction, lease, or renovation.

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