Penn State's 70-MW solar project portfolio is now creating power and sustaining sheep grazing

Oct 16, 2020 11:30 AM ET
  • Penn State University has actually begun buying sustainable power produced from 3 Lightsource bp solar farms that have actually finished building and construction in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. The projects were launched in 2019 upon the finalizing of a 70-MW PPA under which Penn State would certainly purchase 100% of the electricity created by the projects created and also operated by Lightsource bp.
Penn State's 70-MW solar project portfolio is now creating power and sustaining sheep grazing

In total, the solar farms will provide 25% of the University's state-wide electrical energy needs, giving Penn State with approximated price savings in year one of $272,000 as well as more than $14 million over the 25-year agreement term.

" At a time when we are encountering many excellent difficulties, the beginning of this 25-year power purchase arrangement uses a brilliant moment as well as a real reflection of the college's capacity and also commitment to not just expand, however to do well in a manner that improves the wellness as well as sustainability of the earth and also future generations," claimed David Gray, Vice President for Finance and Business and Treasurer, Penn State.

Greater than fifty Penn State students with a selection of majors, consisting of business, design, and marketing have experienced, as well as will certainly continue to have accessibility to a range of knowing, research study as well as teaching fellowship possibilities associated with the solar project.

" From preparing to execution and past, our pupils were granted firsthand, unique accessibility to cutting-edge learning as well as study possibilities associated with the expanding renewable energy market. These living laboratory experiences prepare students for brand-new profession opportunities, and also a brighter future for everybody," stated Eric Barron, University President.

One team of senior design pupils collaborated with Lightsource bp with the University's Bernard J. Gordon Learning Factory to make an interactive excel guide for wind as well as solar developers to pitch company advertising and marketing methods to executives at Lightsource bp as part of their course with Karen Winterich, Professor and Smeal Research Fellow at the college. As well as throughout Fall 2019 term, graduate researchers from several disciplines across the college explored the solar site as part of the LandscapeU program which researches the food-energy-water system in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and also in other places.

" Having Penn State trainees involved in the project as well as add to our business method has actually been an added benefit," stated Kevin Smith, CEO of the Americas, Lightsource bp. "We've been impressed with their vital reasoning as well as quality of work."

The three solar farms are on 500 acres of land rented from regional landowners, supplying a diversified, reliable capital in the local Pennsylvania farming community. Furthermore, in partnership with Penn State, regional farmers, ecology as well as grazing experts, Lightsource bp produced a plan to improve biodiversity in addition to proceed farming use through rotational lamb grazing to preserve the land and also offer an additional source of income to local farmers.

Each of the three solar farms-- called Nittany 1, 2 and 3-- were seeded with a particularly formulated seed mix appropriately named Fuzz & Buzz. Established by the American Solar Grazing Association (ASGA) in collaboration with Ernst Conservation Seeds as well as Pollinator Service, Fuzz & Buzz was specifically made for solar websites to support grazing, as well as biodiverse enough to sustain a series of pollinators. In Pennsylvania, as well as worldwide, environment loss, condition and ecological pollutants have created pollinator populaces to decline, which has harmful effects on food crops that depend on pollinators.

The Nittany 1 website will certainly be the first to support grazing tasks, to start in Spring 2021. Lamb grazing will certainly maintain the farmland in farm manufacturing and use Pennsylvania farmers. It can likewise improve dirt wellness by boosting the biking of nutrients, carbon as well as water.

"From the beginning of our partnership with Penn State, the focus has gotten on cost as well as advantages to the neighborhood and also atmosphere. Penn State's durable ask for proposition (RFP) process might serve as a plan for various other colleges on exactly how to take full advantage of the favorable impacts of a financial investment in renewable energy," stated Emilie Wangerman, VP of Business Development, Lightsource bp.