American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) utility subsidiary Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) said Jan. 5 that it has started generating power at the Deer Creek solar project near Marion, Ind.
Deer Creek went online Dec. 31 following a thorough commissioning process to ensure all equipment is functioning properly. The facility is generating up to 2.5 MW of electricity, and its generation is expected to power the equivalent of about 350 homes annually, the company said in a news release.
“This is a significant milestone for Indiana Michigan Power and our customers,” said Paul Chodak III, President and COO of I&M. “Our large-scale solar facility in Marion and the three I&M is building in the Michiana area in the coming year are an important achievement now, and they collectively mark an important first step into a future that includes more renewable solar energy for I&M customers.”
In addition to the Deer Creek facility, I&M broke ground last fall on the Twin Branch solar facility just outside Mishawaka. Two more facilities – near Watervliet, Mich., and New Carlisle, Ind. – will also begin generating solar energy in 2016. Combined, the four facilities will have a capacity of nearly 15 MW and produce enough energy to power 2,000 homes annually.
Indiana customers can demonstrate their support for solar energy by participating in IM Solar, a program that allows participants to attribute part or all of their electricity consumption to solar. Customers can subscribe to retire Renewable Energy Certificate blocks at $2.21 per month. One 50 kilowatt block is equivalent to about 5% of a typical home’s electric use. To learn more about IM Solar, go to www.IndianaMichiganPower.com/Solar.
As for Deer Creek, the facility consists of about 10,000 solar panels on about 17 acres of ground just south of Marion, Indiana, adjacent to an I&M service center. The Deer Creek solar facility is the first to be owned and operated by I&M and its parent company, AEP. I&M contracted with an Indiana company, Inovateus Solar of South Bend, to design and build the facility.