New 80-acre solar farm in Franklin County

GREENCASTLE, Pa. (WHTM) — There’s a new solar farm in the Midstate. It’s in Franklin County, and it started operating this month.

The 17.5-megawatt solar farm took less than a year to build. It was developed under a power purchase agreement between the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority or SEPTA and Lightsource BP.

The solar farm in Greencastle, the Elk Hill Solar 2, will help SEPTA, the nation’s fifth-largest transit system, based in Philadelphia, considerably reduce its emissions.

“This project is one of our major wins towards this goal of reducing our emissions by 80 percent by 2050,” said Erik Johanson, SEPTA Chief Innovation Officer.

The 80-acre farm, with tens of thousands of solar panels, will generate more than 27,000-megawatt hours of clean energy, about eight percent of SEPTA’s electricity consumption every year.

“What we’re doing here is we’re further improving the dividend that transit brings to the state, by greening the electricity supply that we’re using, and so by doing projects like this, we just make the electricity that’s being consumed on our electric trolleys, trains, and other electric services that much greener,” said Johanson.

It’s a win for jobs, creating about 100 during the construction, as well as the Commonwealth in general. It’s an $18 million investment into energy infrastructure.

“Pennsylvania has climate action goals as well, from the administration, and we’re basically partnering with them in a way, to reduce emissions,” Johanson said, adding, “There’s more renewable energy in the grid in central Pennsylvania than there would have otherwise been.”