The Lightsource BP-operated $25 million Elk Hill Solar 1 farm in Pennsylvania has begun commercial operations, the company said Dec. 20, bringing its joint solar assets in the state to more than 42 megawatts (MW).
Located in Franklin County between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the 25-MW solar farm is one of two farms that Lightsource bp has partnered on with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). Elk Hills 2 entered commercial operations in 2021.
The transit authority aims to lower CO₂ emissions while meeting electricity demand. The solar farm is expected to lower greenhouse gas emissions by more than 28,000 metric tons of CO₂ annually, equivalent to offsetting the emissions of 6,160 fuel burning cars, Lightsource BP said in a news release.
“One of the main goals of our strategic business plan, SEPTA Forward, is to enhance sustainability and expand our access to renewable energy sources,” said Leslie S. Richards, SEPTA CEO and general manager. “We have taken a major step forward with these solar farms, and we look forward to launching more innovative projects and partnerships.”
Lightsource BP Americas CEO Kevin Smith pointed out that the project has a multi-use land strategy to “further multiply the benefits” and strengthen the local economy.
“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,” the release stated. “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.”
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