Indiana utility to add 425 MW of utility solar projects


EDF Renewables North America  announced two agreements with American Electric Power utility Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) to deploy 425 MWac of utility solar projects in Indiana.

Under the agreements, I&M will purchase power output from Sculpin Solar (180 MWac) in DeKalb County, Ind., under a 30-year power purchase agreement.  The utility will acquire 100% of the equity interests in Lake Trout Solar (245 MWac) in Blackford County, Ind., following the completion of construction of the facility, the developer said.  Both projects are anticipated to be put into service in late 2025 at the earliest.

Indiana and its farmers are taking the lead to decarbonize the energy sector, while also revitalizing the local economy with jobs, vendor contracts, taxes, and lease payments,” said Eric Spigelman, senior director, origination & power marketing, EDF. “We are excited to bring EDF Renewables first solar projects to Indiana and to support I&M as it delivers long-term price stability, stimulates economic growth, and reduces emissions.” 

The Sculpin and Lake Trout solar projects are expected to generate 880,000 MWh of clean energy each year, the equivalent to avoiding over 624,000 metric tons of carbon (CO₂) emissions each year from fossil fuel generating facilities.

According to the American Clean Power IQ database, Indiana generates about 1.6 GW or 39% of its 4.18 GW of renewable energy generation mix from solar resources. The Solar Energy Industries Association ranks the state 18th in the nation for solar generation, where it fares within the top five U.S. states with a robust 8.24 GW development pipeline over the next five years.

Indiana’s solar market has been restricted to utility-scale projects in recent years, as May 2017 saw the reversal of a net metering mechanism destroy the value of rooftop solar for its 6.8 million residents.

Indiana’s Clean Energy Portfolio Standard (CPS) is significantly lower than comparable states. Known as the Comprehensive Hoosier Option to Incentivize Cleaner Energy (CHOICE) program, the utility program was enacted in May 2011 by Senate Bill 251 and sets a voluntary goal of generating 10% renewable energy off the grid by 2025.

Once completed, the 245 MW Lake Trout Solar project could become the second largest solar facility in Indiana after NextEra Energy’s Petersburg Solar project, a 250 MW solar plus 180 MWh battery storage project in development in Pike County, Indiana. The Petersburg project is on track for construction by May 2024.

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