The fifth and largest solar array in the region has gained regulatory approval from Indiana authorities, paving the way for a collaborative project between Indiana Michigan Power and the University of Notre Dame.
I&M, an operating company of American Electric Power, announced this morning that they have received approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to build and operate its largest solar generation facility in the Michiana area.
Toby Thomas, President & Chief Operating Officer at I&M says, “The solar facility will allow I&M customers and the entire Michiana area to take advantage of local green resources and assist local economic development efforts to attract businesses that are interested in renewable energy options.” He adds, “I&M is transforming our generation fleet, and this project ensures a bright future for our customers and our communities we serve.”
I&M has reduced its total CO2 emissions more than 60-percent in the last decade, and more than half of I&M’s generation fleet is emission free. The new solar facility builds on I&M’s commitment to a sustainable future.
I&M will collaborate on the large-scale solar project with the University of Notre Dame, which will promote its sustainability goals by committing to support 40-percent of the renewable attributes of the solar facility. I&M and Notre Dame will join forces to maximize educational opportunities and research benefits from the project.
Paul Kempf, Assistant Vice President of Utilities & Maintenance for Notre Dame says, “The University of Notre Dame is pleased to be working with I&M to promote this green energy facility that will support both the University’s sustainability aspirations, as well as create opportunities for other entities in our community to benefit from access to green energy. We are particularly pleased to be able to participate in a project that will be here in St Joseph County and make a real impact on the University’s carbon emissions reductions.”
The solar facility will have a capacity of 20 megawatts – enough energy to power 2,700 homes annually. The facility will be located near the Indiana Toll Road and Bittersweet Road in St. Joseph County. Construction is set to start in April, and the facility is expected to be in operation in late fall 2020.
I&M currently operates four solar generation facilities. Three are in Indiana — Marion, Mishawaka and New Carlisle — and one in Watervliet, Michigan. The solar facilities already in operation generate nearly 15 megawatts of electricity, with enough energy to power 2,000 homes annually.
The photo accompanying this story on Moody on the Market shows the 35 acre site and more than 53,000 solar panels now generating power for I&M in Watervliet.