PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Kenney today signed a bill to enable the City to enter into a Power Purchase Agreement with a renewable energy developer to buy solar power. The agreement will result in the construction of a 70-Megawatt solar facility – the largest in Pennsylvania by sevenfold – which will be built in Adams County. Through the contract, the City will purchase all electricity produced at the site – about 22 percent of the City government’s load – for 20 years at a fixed rate competitive with conventional electricity prices. The project is key to meeting the commitment to have 100 percent of the City’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030, as set in the Municipal Energy Master Plan.
“This project not only helps Philadelphia demonstrate leadership on climate action, but it also makes good economic sense and helps to boost regional job growth in the renewable energy sector,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We thank Councilwoman Reynolds Brown, the Philadelphia Energy Authority, and Community Energy, Inc. for their partnership in creating this win-win deal for Philadelphians.”
The bill authorizes the City to enter into a long-term agreement with the Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) for the purchase of electricity. PEA will in turn enter into the 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with Adams Solar LLC, a project company of Community Energy, Inc., developer of the solar project. By purchasing 22 percent of the City’s electricity supply at a low fixed price, the City is hedging against future price spikes, which is likely to save the City money in the long run.
“This solar power commitment demonstrates impressive and much needed municipal leadership on climate change in Pennsylvania,” said Brent Alderfer, Community Energy CEO and co-founder. “As climate change becomes more costly, Philadelphia and other leading municipalities are seeking out reliable, long-term partnerships to decarbonize and head off irreversible climate damage.”
The bill was introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, the Chair of City Council’s Committee on the Environment.
“The City of Philadelphia has set a goal for all City buildings to be powered through renewable electricity by 2030. To achieve this goal, we must analyze the need, investigate the options, make a strategic plan, and then implement it. This Power Purchase Agreement is part of that plan and the result of a thorough procurement process evaluated by the Office of Sustainability and Philadelphia Energy Authority,” said Councilwoman Reynolds Brown. “Moving forward in a tangible matter with this goal symbolizes how we grow towards a greener and more sustainable Philadelphia.”
The project includes an Economic Opportunity Plan (EOP) that will use best and good faith efforts to incorporate minority, women, and disabled-person owned businesses in the Adams Solar LLC project. Job fairs for sub-contractors and workforce will be held in both Philadelphia and Adams County.
As feasible, Community Energy’s efforts will be connected to existing solar training opportunities and specifically the recent efforts by the Philadelphia Energy Authority.
“This project is among the largest of its kind, and demonstrates Philadelphia’s leadership on climate action,” said Emily Schapira, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Energy Authority. “This will be a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with our high school solar training program, to help make sure our students are prepared to take on jobs in the new clean energy economy.”
The project is expected to break ground in the fall of 2019 and the electricity will begin to be delivered in the fall of 2020. In the meantime, the Office of Sustainability will pursue other efforts to increase the use of renewable energy, including supporting medium and large institutions interested in undertaking similar purchasing agreements. Learn more about the City’s efforts in the Municipal Energy Master Plan and how your home or business can support clean energy in Powering Our Future: A Clean Energy Vision for Philadelphia.
About Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability
The Office of Sustainability (OOS) works with partners around the City to improve quality of life in all Philadelphia neighborhoods, reduce the City’s carbon emissions, and prepare Philadelphia for a hotter, wetter future. OOS is responsible for implementing Greenworks Philadelphia, the City’s comprehensive sustainability plan, which is made up of eight visions: accessible food and drinking water; healthy outdoor and indoor air; clean and efficient energy; climate-prepared and carbon-neutral communities; quality natural resources; accessible, affordable, and safe transportation; zero waste; and engaged students, stewards, and workers. The Energy Office, housed within OOS, is responsible for managing the municipal energy portfolio and its contribution towards carbon reductions. For more information, please visit https://www.phila.gov/departments/office-of-sustainability/.
About the Philadelphia Energy Authority
The Philadelphia Energy Authority was established in 2010 as an independent municipal authority to provide targeted expertise and focus to Philadelphia’s efforts to reduce energy consumption and expense. In February of 2016, PEA launched its first major initiative, the Philadelphia Energy Campaign, aiming to leverage $1 billion toward energy efficiency and clean energy in the city over the next 10 years. Learn more at www.philaenergy.org.
About Community Energy
Community Energy has developed and financed over 1,500 MW of renewable energy power projects across the country, including 800 MW of solar power. Community Energy combines power marketing and development expertise to build renewable generation projects economically and at scale, and has been a leading renewable energy developer for more than 15 years, developing many of the first and largest wind and solar projects in the United States. Community Energy is headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania with offices in Boulder, Colorado, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For more information about Community Energy, please visit https://communityenergysolar.com/.