The 80MW Adams County solar farm is expected to meet 22% of Philadelphia’s government building needs, a significant step toward the city’s goal of sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.
Officials from the city of Philadelphia announced that they have signed an updated Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Virginia-based Energix Renewables for the annual power generation of Adams County’s 80 MW solar farm.
The aptly named installation is set to be built on farmland in Straban Township, Adams County, not far from Gettysburg, although the project’s rebuild schedule is still up in the air. The project was originally scheduled to break ground in the first half of 2020 and be operational in 2021. However, the receipt of conditional approval for the facility, granted in late 2019, coincided with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and global supply chain shortages caused in part by the pandemic served to keep development and construction moving forward to delay.
Upon completion, the project, currently expected sometime in 2023, is expected to meet 22% of demand from Philadelphia’s government buildings, marking a significant step toward the city’s goal of 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 obtain energies. And along the way, it will eliminate more than 4 million tons of carbon emissions during its lifetime. The city’s reaffirmation of the PPA means that the city will purchase the electricity generated by the project for 20 years after it is commissioned.
The City of Philadelphia will also take market ownership of the project-generated electricity that will be shipped to the Peco area since there is no way to send electricity directly from Adams County to Philadelphia.
Regarding the hardware it intends to use, Energix stated that the project will be built with First Solar modules mounted on single-axis trackers.
When it was first announced and according to its original schedule, Adams Solar Farm was on track to become one of the largest projects in the state. Since then, other large utility-scale assets have been announced and development has begun, including the 127 MW CPV Maple Hill solar plant. Maple Hill began construction in 2021 and will begin powering Hydro’s aluminum extrusion facility in Cressona, Pennsylvania starting this summer. The solar field will consist of 237,000 bifacial Talesun panels on a single-axis tracking system to maximize energy production. The tracker provider has yet to be announced.
The development of utility-scale solar systems has accelerated in Pennsylvania since the beginning of 2020. The state currently has nearly 900 MW of installed solar capacity, the 23rd largest in the country, according to data from the Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie. Over the next five years, the state is expected to add another 1.9 GW, good for 18th in the nation during that time.
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