West Penn Power to connect two new solar farms to the grid

Published on July 21, 2023 by Dave Kovaleski

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West Penn Power has started work to connect two solar energy projects in Fulton and Franklin counties to the electric grid.

The two solar farms, developed by AES Corp., will generate 220 megawatts of renewable energy that is designated for a customer power purchase agreement.

The first project will see West Penn Power, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy, expand its McConnellsburg substation in Fulton County and add a new terminal at the substation. This new terminal will provide a connection point for a 70-megawatt solar farm that AES is developing in Ayr Township.

The second project is a 150-megawatt solar farm in Peters and Saint Thomas Townships in Franklin County. West Penn Power is building a new substation on McDowell Road that will serve as an interconnection for the solar farm. AES will build a 138-kilovolt line from the solar farm into the substation, while West Penn Power will add a 378-foot loop to connect the substation to one of its existing 138-kilovolt transmission lines that runs between the company’s Guilford and McConnellsburg substations.

West Penn Power expects to finish the connection work for both projects in late 2023. The two solar farms are projected to be in service in early 2024.

“FirstEnergy is committed to supporting the global energy transition to renewable resources, and we are pleased to work with AES to help facilitate the delivery of clean energy through connection of these new solar projects,” Carl Bridenbaugh, FirstEnergy’s vice president of transmission, said. “This work aligns with FirstEnergy’s long-term strategy of pursuing opportunities that help enable the transition to a clean, resilient energy future.”

This is part of FirstEnergy’s Energizing the Future initiative, through which it is upgrading its transmission system with advanced equipment and technologies. Through 2022, FirstEnergy has invested more than $10 billion in the Energizing the Future initiative.

FirstEnergy owns 10 electric distribution companies serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York.