Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to source 50% of annual consumption from in-state solar energy developed by Lightsource bp

Sited across six Pennsylvania counties, 191 MW of solar projects expected to help state reduce its carbon emissions by more than 157,000 metric tons annually

HARRISBURG (March 22, 2021) — Constellation, an Exelon company and a leading competitive energy provider, and Lightsource bp, a global leader in the development and management of solar projects, announced today that agreements are in place to help the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania source approximately 50 percent of its annual energy consumption from renewable supply.

The Commonwealth announced it awarded electricity accounts located throughout the state of Pennsylvania to Constellation, which in turn has executed an agreement to purchase power and project-specific renewable energy certificates (RECs) from 191-megawatts of solar currently being developed by Lightsource bp. Located on seven sites spanning six central Pennsylvania counties, the Pennsylvania PULSE (Project to Utilize Light and Solar Energy) is expected to achieve commercial operation by December 2022. Once complete, it will provide clean power to 16 COPA agencies.

Constellation’s contract with the Commonwealth is slated to begin in January 2023. Under the contract, the Commonwealth will source solar electricity through the end of 2037.

The solar energy produced from the Pennsylvania PULSE will help the Commonwealth reduce emissions associated with its energy use by an estimated 157,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, the equivalent of removing more than 34,000 cars from the road in one year, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency statistics.

The project will help fulfill Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s Climate Change Executive Order, which set a goal of lowering Pennsylvania’s greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050 compared with 2005 levels as well as obtaining at least 40 percent of electricity from in-state clean energy sources.

“Pennsylvania has been a national energy leader for more than one hundred years,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “As we continue to diversify our grid with clean renewable sources of energy, we want to maintain Pennsylvania’s leadership position and bring the associated economic, health, and environmental benefits to all Pennsylvanians. This requires innovative resourcefulness as demonstrated by the General Services solar energy procurement along with extensive strategic collaboration such as this partnership with Constellation and Lightsource bp.”

To simplify the purchase, the Commonwealth is using a contract structure similar to Constellation’s Offsite Renewables (CORe) retail power product, which enables the development of, and increases access to, renewable energy projects while providing the resources and expertise needed to actively manage offsite power purchase agreements (PPAs). As part of this transaction, Constellation will purchase energy and RECs from Lightsource bp’s solar projects and will then sell the power and project-specific RECs to the Commonwealth’s retail accounts. Constellation electricity charges will appear on each account’s regular utility invoice.

Constellation’s agreement with the Commonwealth marks its largest offsite renewable deal to date. The Commonwealth’s commitment also stands as the largest solar commitment by any government entity in the United States — surpassing any Federal, State, or Municipal commitments announced to date. 

“This clean energy solution will enable the Commonwealth to unlock the economic and sustainability benefits of a large-scale, offsite renewable project while minimizing risk,” said Jim McHugh, CEO, Constellation. “Working in concert with Lightsource bp, we’re pleased to help the Commonwealth support the development of in-state, new-build renewable energy assets that will enable the Commonwealth to deliver on its commitments to reduce its carbon footprint and address climate change.”

“Lightsource bp is committed to supporting the Commonwealth’s clean energy goals, and our owner-operator model for our solar projects means that we’re a long-term partner of Pennsylvania,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of Lightsource bp Americas. “Our 70 megawatt solar project in Franklin County with Penn State is an example of how we develop solar with a focus on affordability and maximizing environmental and community benefits. We’re excited to partner with Constellation and the Commonwealth to further advance that model with this new project in central Pennsylvania.”

Penn State Facilities Engineering Institute served as the Commonwealth’s technical advisor on the deal.

Find out more about this project here.