Elk Hill solar in commercial operation

SEPTA and Lightsource bp progress Pennsylvania’s clean energy goals with second large-scale solar project

  • 25MW Elk Hill Solar 1 farm in Franklin County, Pennsylvania in commercial operation
  • Marks Lightsource bp’s second solar project in PA in partnership with SEPTA
  • Helps SEPTA meet sustainability goals by abating 28,000 metric tons of CO2 annually

A 25 megawatt solar project that is helping advance energy and sustainability priorities for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has reached commercial operation. The project is one of two solar farms that SEPTA and Lightsource bp have partnered on, bringing their joint statewide operational solar assets to more than 42 megawatts – enough to meet about 20% of SEPTA’s electricity demand.

Leslie S. Richards, SEPTA CEO and General Manager: “SEPTA is proud to be an industry leader in utilizing new technologies that are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing the quality of life for our customers and the communities we serve. One of the main goals of our strategic business plan, SEPTA Forward, is to enhance sustainability and expand our access to renewable energy sources. We have taken a major step forward with these solar farms, and we look forward to launching more innovative projects and partnerships.”

Elk Hill Solar 1, developed under a power purchase agreement between SEPTA and Lightsource bp, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 28,000 metric tons of CO2 annually, equivalent to offsetting the emissions of 6,160 fuel burning cars. The solar farm also supports Pennsylvania’s clean energy goals, helping to lower carbon emissions while diversifying the state’s energy portfolio and increasing energy security with locally generated electricity. The solar farm was developed, and is owned and operated by Lightsource bp.

Kevin Smith, CEO of the Americas, Lightsource bp: “In addition to lowering greenhouse gas emissions by generating electricity from Pennsylvania home-grown renewable energy sources, solar projects like these can help strengthen local rural economies across the Commonwealth. Our multiuse land strategies further multiply the benefits of these projects.”

Local benefits

Lightsource bp and project investors fully funded the project, an estimated $25 million of investment into new energy infrastructure for Pennsylvania. In addition to providing cost-competitive, locally generated renewable energy that’s being delivered into the electric grid, Elk Hill Solar 1 created 100 jobs during the construction of the facility.

Additionally, a long-term biodiversity and land management action plan is underway for Elk Hill Solar 1 to maximize local sustainability benefits through habitat creation and co-located agriculture to farm the land while also harnessing solar energy. The land under and around the solar panels will be planted with groundcover that is both grazing and pollinator friendly, including native wildflowers and clover species. Lightsource bp is also working with a local farmer on a plan to graze sheep to manage the vegetation under and around the solar panel. Managed grazing also works to improve soil health and foster healthy ecosystems.