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Two solar farms in Franklin County, Pennsylvania will help SEPTA meet its sustainability goals while supporting the local economy     

Philadelphia − The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), among the largest transit agencies in the United States serving the Greater Philadelphia region, and Lightsource BP, a global leader in the development, financing and management of utility-scale solar energy projects, have signed a long-term power contract for two solar farms totaling 43.8 MWdc in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. The projects, Elk Hill 1 and 2, will help advance energy and sustainability priorities for both SEPTA and the Commonwealth.

Lightsource BP will finance, build, own and operate the two solar farms, which will generate an estimated annual total of 67,029 MWh of clean and affordable solar energy, or nearly 20 percent of SEPTA’s 380,000 MWh per year electricity demand – the equivalent of providing energy to more than 6,100 US homes annually.

“This project is a win-win, creating good-paying jobs for Pennsylvanians while locking in low prices with a clean energy source for SEPTA,” said SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon, Sr. “We’re excited to be a part of moving the Commonwealth’s energy industry forward.”

Generation from solar farms of this size and type would be expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 47,390 metric tons of CO2 annually, equivalent to offsetting the emissions of 500 of SEPTA’s buses each year. They also support Pennsylvania’s goals to generate a percentage of clean electricity by solar photovoltaics, helping to diversify the state’s energy portfolio and increase security with locally generated power.

“Transit is inherently sustainable, and supporting the development of local renewable energy is another way we can deepen our positive environmental impact,” said SEPTA General Manager, Leslie S. Richards. “The agreement will help us achieve our long-term and ambitious sustainability goals in this vital field, which will only become more important as we emerge from this crisis.”

“We’re thrilled to partner with SEPTA, an organization committed to its sustainability goals, while supporting development of new solar energy sources within the state to create jobs in local communities during these challenging times,” said Kevin Smith, chief executive officer of Lightsource BP in the Americas. “Working together, we’re helping advance transportation’s transition toward low carbon along with benefitting Pennsylvania’s environment as well as its economy.”

Local economic benefits

Lightsource BP and project investors will fully fund the projects, an estimated $47 million of investment into energy infrastructure for Pennsylvania. In addition to providing low-cost, locally generated renewable energy, Elk Hill 1 and 2 will create an estimated 200 jobs during the construction of the facilities, hiring local subcontractors and recruiting from the local labor pool. Over 120,000 solar panels will be installed across two locations in Franklin County, on about 320 acres leased from local landowners – providing families with a new source of reliable revenue for decades. Both Elk Hill 1 and 2 are expected to be online in 2021.