TROY – An effort to build a 50-megawatt solar array along Indiana 545 between Troy and New Boston has passed the major hurdle of getting the green light from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Vectren announced its receipt of IURC approval Wednesday, March 20. Construction should begin later this year and is expected to be up and running by the fall of 2020. The building of the array will support an estimated 250 jobs.

The solar farm will consist of about 150,000 solar panels spread out over approximately 300 acres.

It is expected to generate enough energy to power 12,000 households per year. First Solar, a leading firm in the global solar-power industry, will carry out construction. The array will be mounted on a single-axis tracking system, which enables the panels to automatically pivot to enhance energy generation as the sun’s rays move across the surface of the Earth.

The project began in 2017, when Vectren worked with Orion Renewable Power Resources LLC, a joint venture between Orion Renewable Energy Group and MAP Renewable Energy, to select, secure and eventually develop the property. The area slated to host the solar array has been leased from a local landowner.

Vectren reached an agreement with the Indiana Offices of Utility Consumer Counselor and the Citizens Action Coalition in October to create a customer-friendly rate mechanism that maximizes the available tax incentives associated with solar projects and spreads all costs evenly over a 35-year period.

The company says the project will be a critical asset in its efforts to reduce its carbon emissions by 60 percent from 2005 levels by 2024. Vectren already has 4 megawatts of solar generation in service. The company also purchases 80 megawatts of wind power from the Fowler Ridge wind farms in Benton County and the 3.2-megawatt landfill gas facility in Pike County.

The new solar array near Troy will be the second installed in Spencer County, the first being Hoosier Energy’s solar farm north of Dale. Vectren’s array will also be among the most prominent in Indiana.

“We are pleased to receive authorization from the IURC as the final step in the process to adding more solar electric generation to our portfolio,” said Lynnae Wilson, chief business officer, Indiana electric. “This significant renewable resource, a key piece of Vectren’s Smart Energy Future vision, will be among the largest single-sited solar farms in the state and will serve Vectren customers for decades to come.”
Copyright 2020