Solar as a crop? Penn State to install state’s largest solar array on 500 acres of farmland.

By Ellie Rushing, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Glenn and Catherine Dice have been farmers all their lives, owning 60 cows at one point and growing corn, wheat, alfalfa, and barley on what has become 700 acres in Franklin County, southwest of Harrisburg. But in the last year, the Dices added a new crop to their fields: solar panels. In a growing trend across Pennsylvania and the rest of the country, the Dices have agreed to a 25-year contract to rent 134 acres to Lightsource BP, a London-based solar company with an office in Philadelphia. Lightsource is renting a total of 500 acres of land from seven Franklin County farm owners to install a utility-scale solar array with 150,000 panels, in what will be the largest solar installation in the state. It will sell the power generated to Pennsylvania State University, providing 25% of the university’s electrical needs for all its campuses. As a nonprofit, Penn State is not eligible for the 30% tax incentive that comes with installing solar. Since Lightsource is eligible, purchasing the electricity through that company significantly reduces the university’s entry cost and liability. Read more here.