The University Area Joint Authority (UAJA), Solar Renewable Energy, LLC (SRE), and RETTEW held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 20 for the Phase II Solar Array and Microgrid located in State College, Pa. The ribbon-cutting was held at the 21-acre site, which hosts 16,760 solar panel modules.

The result of a public-private partnership, the 6.15MWdc/5.0MWac solar array provides about 80 percent of the wastewater treatment plant’s annual energy demand. Not only is this the largest array allowed under large customer net metering, but it’s projected to save UAJA, the facility host, more than $10 million over the next 25 years and produce 7,845, 429 KWhrs in the first year. With a 3.54 MWdc photovoltaic array size, the facility includes 9,074 VSUN bifacial panels (405W each), 17 FIRMER invertors (166.65KW each), and a 500kVA battery.

“Our facility has always had a main goal of improving the environment and keeping user rates as low as we possibly can.” said Cory Miller, UAJA Executive Director. “With the help of RETTEW and SRE, we pushed all the rules in figuring out how to maximize the amount of solar we can produce – and we pulled it off. It’s something this community can be proud of.”

Designed by RETTEW, an engineering firm based in Lancaster, Pa., the general contractor was SRE of Mechanicsburg, Pa. and the electrical contractor was Meadow Valley Electric Inc. of Ephrata, Pa. Pace, based in Congers, New York, provided financing and owns the installment.

“The UAJA is standing on the forefront of wastewater plants in the entire state when it comes to sustainability,” said Clayton Bubeck, RETTEW President. “We’re humbled to work with such a forward-thinking Authority and make their vision a reality.”

This second phase of the project included a microgrid to power the wastewater treatment plant during extended electrical grid emergencies and the Authority will be able to parallel the grid’s operations over the long term to manage the demand. This phase also reduces more than 3,300 metric tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to eliminating 375,000 gallons of gasoline.