Philly to cut ribbon on 700-acre solar farm in Adams County – KYW

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Join KYW Newsradio this Thursday at 7 p.m. for a special edition of “Audacy Conversations: The State of the Environment.” Listen live on 103.9 FM or on the Audacy app, or tell your smart speaker to “play KYW Newsradio.”

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — All this week, KYW Newsradio and Audacy news stations around the country are taking a deep dive into the state of the environment. This month … after years of delay, Philadelphia will cut the ribbon on a solar farm in Adams County.

When former City Council president Darrell Clarke announced the creation of the Philadelphia Energy Authority in 2016, he said the goal was to invest $1 billion in clean energy that would create 10,000 jobs over 10 years.
President Emily Schiapira says the authority is on track, with 904 million in investments and 7,600 jobs.

“We’ve used energy as a vehicle to address Philadelphia’s biggest challenges,” Schiapira said. “We’re thinking about it in the context of both climate change and poverty and education and affordable housing.”

Projects include weatherizing city buildings and schools, putting rooftop solar on 2,700 homes, converting street lights to LED to lower the city’s carbon use by 9%, and the most ambitious of all, a 700-acre solar farm in Adams County that will provide 25% of the energy for city-owned buildings, including the airport.

“This is an enormous array. As far as the eye can see, you’ve got these enormous solar panels up on trackers that follow the sun,” Schiapira said.

The project is on its third owner and was postponed by the pandemic, changes to federal rules and the mating season of endangered bats.

“It’s been a ride but it’s an incredibly enormous, beautiful array,” she said.

Schiapira says they now have a contract for 20 years of power at a fixed price, so that gives the city some budget certainty.

“It’s cheaper than what we would be paying otherwise and it created tons of jobs and was a great opportunity for the folks in Adams County too.”

The project is already feeding energy into PECO’s grid, but an official ribbon cutting is scheduled for April 30.

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