Next season, when Citizens Bank Parks' giant, neon Liberty Bell rings for a Phillies home run, it'll be – at least indirectly – with electricity generated in Lancaster County, where the state's largest solar project just got underway.
of Radnor is the developer of the six-megawatt Keystone Solar Project in East Drumore Township, in conjunction with Exelon Generation
, the wholesale energy broker. Besides the Phillies, other early, high profile customers include Franklin & Marshall College, Eastern University, the Clean Air Council and Millersville University.
The Keystone Project will go online this fall, supplying about 7.5 million-kilowatt hours per year of electricity under a 15-year power purchase agreement with Exelon. The annual environmental benefit equals that of 3,000 zero-emission passenger vehicles or 285,000 newly planted trees growing for 10 years.
Community Energy was founded in 1999 primarily as a wind energy developer and moved into solar in 2009. Brent Alderfer, co-founder and CEO, notes that solar by its nature is low-maintenance and non-labor intensive, so only a few permanent jobs will result. But over the summer, about 50 construction workers are busy on-site.
Located in a heavily agricultural area, the project is designed with farmland preservation and agricultural soil restoration in mind. The solar panels are being installed on driven posts without concrete to avoid soil disturbance and the site will be maintained with selected cover vegetation to preserve and improve organic soil content.
"This is the greenest of the green – local jobs building fuel-free power that will last for decades," says Brent Beerley, Community Energy's executive vice president.
Source: Brent Alderfer, Community Energy
Writer: Elise Vider