Pennsylvania Governor Seeks Nation’s Largest Government Commitment to Solar Energy

By: Brian J. Pulito

Published: April 1, 2021

On March 21, 2021, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced the largest government commitment to purchase solar energy in the United States. The proposal, called Pennsylvania PULSE, would produce enough electricity from solar energy arrays to supply 50% of the state government’s usage. As Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards sunsets at the end of May, Pennsylvania PULSE is the latest move by the executive branch to strengthen the renewable energy market in the Commonwealth through its GreenGov initiative.

Pennsylvania PULSE (Project to Utilize Light and Solar Energy) is slated to become operational on January 1, 2023. The 191-megawatt project will be sited across six counties in the Commonwealth. The expected 361,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year is enough to supply roughly half of the electricity used by the state government. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of General Services contracted a 15-year fixed price power supply agreement with Constellation, an energy company that provides electric power, natural gas, and energy management services. Penn State Facilities Engineering Institute is serving as a technical advisor on the project. Lightsource BP will construct, own, and operate the solar generation facilities.

The GreenGov Council develops strategies to curb greenhouse gas emissions. One of GreenGov’s goals is to obtain at least 40% percent of electricity from in-state clean energy sources. Governor Wolf noted that Pennsylvania PULSE would not only meet but exceed that goal. The seven solar power generation facilities are planned for Columbia, Juniata, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and York Counties. In order to preserve the Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC) market in Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth will retire the SRECs generated by the project upon purchase.

Steptoe & Johnson’s Renewable Energy Team is ready to assist developers with all aspects of solar energy project development for community solar and utility scale projects, including local land use, zoning, land title certification and management, title insurance and project finance.

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