Big Solar Array Going Up To Power Tyler State Park

Tyler State Park is making a move toward alternative energy, in a big way.

The large solar array is going up on the Newtown Township side of Tyler State Park.
Credit: Chris English/

Tyler State Park is making a move toward alternative energy, in a big way.

A large ground-mounted solar array going up near the park headquarters building on the Newtown Township side will fairly soon provide most of the electricity needed at the 1,700-acre park that stretches over Newtown Township, Northampton Township and a small part of Wrightstown Township, Park Manager Phil Schmidt said.

Tyler State Park Manager Phil Schmidt stands by part of a solar array going up on the Newtown Township side of the park.
Credit: Chris English/

And it will be a big money saver, he added. Once completed and connected to the PECO grid, the solar array will reduce yearly electric costs at the park from about $17,500 a year down to $1,500, Schmidt estimated.

In addition to the savings, there will be environmental benefits as well, he continued.

“With climate change, we’re just going to have to work on getting away from fossil fuels as much as possible,” Schmidt said. “Since state parks are run by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, we should be spearheading some initiatives. It’s something we should be doing, and I’m glad we are.”

Schmidt said he had hoped the solar array would have been up and running by now but that issues with production and distribution of parts have delayed the process. He said he is fairly certain it will be fully online by the end of this year.

Tyler State Park Manager Phil Schmidt checks out control boxes that are part of the large solar array.
Credit: Chris English/

The $377,000 cost of the Tyler array is part of a larger contract awarded to Spotts Brothers to install solar at Nockamixon State Park – which like Tyler is in Bucks County – Evansburg State Park and the Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center in Nazareth. All are in the DCNR’s Southeast Region. Money for the installations is coming from Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener grant program, Schmidt noted.

The work at Tyler is part of a larger statewide DCNR initiative to increase the use of alternative and renewable energy at its facilities, in large part via solar. Cindy Adams Dunn, DCNR secretary, announced in September of 2022 that the department will produce or purchase all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

The department – which operates 121 state parks and also other facilities across Pennsylvania – currently has 23 solar installation projects completed on its lands, with another 18 currently in design or under construction.

The solar panels on a recent morning.
Credit: Chris English/

“DCNR’s commitment to sustainability is second to none and we are proud to announce this critical step to a more sustainable energy use across our department as good stewards of our natural resources,” Dunn said of the 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 goal. “This agency is committing to a measured, strategic plan to address energy conservation, creation and consumption for the facilities that are critical parts of operating public lands.”

The solar project at Tyler consists of 270 solar panels about three by six feet each, attached together to make six large rectangular pieces, with three of 50 panels and three of 40 panels. Schmidt said the entire array will produce 150,000 megawatt hours of electricity a year once connected to the PECO grid.

About the author

Chris English

I’m a 1981 Temple University graduate and Bucks County resident with 40 years experience reporting and writing on sports, education, government, community and social issues on the county, regional and state level. I love reading, sports, music and movies and walking around local parks.