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Community Energy shines brightly in the solar power industry


BEN FRANKLIN TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS is a partner in Keystone Edge. They will be sharing insights from their leadership and news from their portfolio companies in the Ben Franklin On: section.

We at Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA can’t help but be impressed when one of our portfolio companies is actively advancing both adoption and execution of technology. Community Energy in Radnor has become a recognized leader in developing and building utility scale solar power projects, including several of the largest on the East Coast.

That includes the 900-acre Amazon Solar Farm US East in Virginia, which is under construction and should be completed by October 2016. The power will be purchased by Amazon Web Services and the ultimate ownership is with Dominion, the third largest electric utility in the United States.

“This ground-breaking solar project in Virginia shows what can happen when you bring together a national energy leader like Dominion and a global web services provider like Amazon Web Services with forward-looking leaders in Accomack County and the Commonwealth of Virginia,” says Brent Alderfer, President of Community Energy, Inc. “This is a model for a new solar industry in the region and nationally.”

The 80 megawatt project will supply 15,000 American homes in a given year, making it the largest solar power plant in the Mid-Atlantic. That’ll charge a lot of Kindles, no energy

The Amazon project follows on the heels of the even larger 100 MW project in Butler, Georgia and 120 MW project in Pueblo, Colorado. To give you a sense of the scale, these solar projects cover around two square miles.

The Butler Project will supply solar generation to Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power under a 30-year power purchase agreement. Georgia Power will have the option to keep or sell the RECs (Renewable Energy Credits), for the benefit of its customers or renewable energy programs. The Comanche Solar Project in Colorado will supply solar generation to Xcel Energy under a 25-year purchase agreement approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

Closer to home, Community Energy has completed construction on a 2 megawatt solar array at Elizabethtown College. The ground-mounted solar photovoltaic system will create an educational living/learning laboratory on campus. It is the largest solar project hosted by a college, university or school in Pennsylvania, and is expected to supply over 20 percent of the school’s annual electricity needs, equivalent to powering 350 homes.

In 2016, the cost of solar energy will keep getting lower. The choice to power businesses and homes with a growing percentage of renewable power is becoming easier and more compelling. Community Energy is leading that charge. We’re proud of their success.

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