Standard Solar acquires 2.61 MW solar project at Lehigh University

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U.S. universities and regional colleges are engaged in carbon neutrality goals, including adding campus-wide energy efficiency and renewable energy projects such as solar generation.

In Pennsylvania, Lehigh University is adding a 2.61 MW solar facility on its campus as a component of its 2040 carbon neutral strategy.

Standard Solar, a Brookfield Renewable-owned community solar developer, has announced the acquisition of the Lehigh solar facility from developer EDF Renewables, solidifying the company’s commitment to advancing solar energy in Pennsylvania and expanding into the education market.

“This transaction adds to Standard Solar’s impressive track record of successfully bringing solar solutions to schools, empowering them with clean and sustainable energy sources,” said Eric Partyka, director of business development, Standard Solar. “We’re thrilled to continue our successful development and construction partnership with EDF Renewables North America with this newest project – delivering clean energy to Pennsylvania’s Lehigh University community.”

Upon completion, the project is anticipated to fully power the Murray H. Goodman Campus, where the majority of the university’s athletic facilities are located. The solar installation is expected to meet 100% of Lehigh University’s electricity demands while offsetting 8% of the university’s grid power consumption.

The project will use a single-axis tracker system estimated to generate 5.22 GWh of clean energy each year, enough to power about 285 houses for one year and offset the carbon dioxide equivalent of burning more than 1,250 tons of coal in one year.

The Lehigh project is part of the developer’s expanding portfolio in the education sector. The company currently owns and operates more than 35 MW of solar projects serving educational institutions, encompassing both K-12 schools and collegiate institutions.

“Lehigh University has a bold, comprehensive plan to become a carbon-neutral institution, one driven by university and Lehigh Valley stakeholders” said Audrey McSain, sustainability director at Lehigh University. “This project will play a key role in our strategy, delivering rapid emissions reductions to help meet our ambitious goals. We thank EDF Renewables and Standard Solar for their partnership and look forward to producing clean energy onsite for our community and environment.”

Lehigh University recently released an ambitious 2040 carbon neutral strategy which includes:

  • Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA) solar project
  • On-campus solar project
  • High-priority energy projects
  • Sustainable policies
  • Shifting Lehigh’s vehicle fleet to run on 100% renewables
  • Land preservation & local carbon offsets
  • Electrify some campus buildings
  • Decarbonize central heating plants
  • Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) & carbon offsets

The university’s Climate Action Strategy aligns Lehigh with the City of Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, which establishes a net-zero by 2040 community-wide target. The strategy deepens Lehigh’s commitments to climate action and puts Lehigh in line with peer and aspirant peer institutions that have developed pathways to net-zero emissions.

Standard Solar, based in Rockville, Maryland, owns and operates more than 300 MW of community solar and small distributed solar projects across the U.S.

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