Alberta — Penn State University, in partnership with Lightsource BP, has broken ground on the largest solar project in the state of Pennsylvania. The project is expected to provide 25 percent of the university’s electricity, at a savings of over $14 million, over the next 25 years. Lightsource BP will build, own and operate the facility and sell the electricity to Penn State under a long-term power sales contract.
As one of the lead engineering firms on the project, Stantec has been hired by Rosendin, the EPC contractor (engineering, procurement, and construction), to provide electrical, structural, and civil engineering design services.
The project will see installation of 150,000 solar panels across three locations spanning over 500 acres of leased land in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.
“Lightsource BP has a track record of building solar farms that enhance local biodiversity and agriculture, and we’re excited to work with Stantec to advance that model with this project in Pennsylvania,” said Kevin Smith, Lightsource BP’s CEO of the Americas. “Stantec’s engineering expertise, along with their focus on local environments and communities, fits well with our core objectives.”
Through assistance from Penn State researchers, the project design team is incorporating environmentally conscious design elements into the 70-megawatt project, such as grasses and shrubs that will help increase pollination and thwart honeybee population decline. The project will also serve as a working laboratory for students and faculty.
“Penn State and Lightsource BP are demonstrating a profound commitment to a renewable future with the addition of this 70-megawatt solar project,” said Robert Molner, Solar Subsector Leader for US Power at Stantec. “This is a monumental project for the university and the state of Pennsylvania, and we are taking great care to be mindful of local wildlife populations and minimize disruption to the land.”
“Solar power plays a vital role in helping communities produce clean energy,” said David Bernier, Power Lead at Stantec. “Penn State University and Lightsource BP are showcasing the innovative and forwarding thinking approaches needed for communities large and small across North America to meet aggressive renewable energy goals.”