One of two of the largest solar parks to date created by Indiana Municipal Power Agency is ready to be unveiled. The public is invited to a ribbon cutting ceremony a 2 p.m. Monday at the Crawfordsville Solar Park on Memorial Drive. The ceremony will be followed by tours of the facility.
The solar park was originally planned to include 8,000 solar panels. In April, IMPA and Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton announced the company would increase the size to include a total of 11,850 solar panels equating to a 3-megawatt facility.
Jack Alvey, IMPA senior vice president of generation, said the reason the park was increased was because it would help IMPA meet its own goals for adding solar energy in 2015.
“Without a doubt the relationship we have with the city administration and Mayor Todd Barton, along with Crawfordsville Electric Light & Power and city council is a big factor in increasing our investment,” Alvey said. “We are happy about the progress with our 2015 plan and that we are able to complete this project that the City of Crawfordsville has greatly supported.”
The electricity generated at the park will flow into the Crawfordsville distribution system and will help reduce the amount of electricity purchased from other sources during times of peak energy usage.
The solar park is part of IMPA’s effort to diversify its portfolio of power generation. In an article from the IMPA Wire, IMPA Board Chairman Raj G. Rao said the agency has layered its power supply diversity.
“IMPA’s incremental diversification is also bolstered by the fact that no single generation unit carries the majority of IMPA’s electric load,” Rao said. “Rather, the many sources of generation that make up IMPA’s power supply portfolio — coal, natural gas, nuclear, wind and solar — work together to provide low-cost, reliable and environmentally responsible power.”
IMPA had hoped to have the ribbon cutting in September, but the large amount of spring rainfall placed the project behind by approximately 30 days.
IMPA’s investment is now $5.1 million, which also is the amount of tax abatement the city extended the wholesale electric power supplier.
Alvey said the Crawfordsville solar project is the third one to be completed this year.
“We have also completed the Tell City and Peru projects thus far this year,” Alvey said. “Both of those communities were also very supportive and they have been pleased with having the new projects come online in their communities. The final projects to wrap up 2015 will be in Pendleton, Bainbridge, and Argos. They will all be complete by the end of October.
IMPA is comprised of 59 Indiana members and one Ohio member. Local IMPA community members are Crawfordsville, Darlington, Ladoga and Waynetown. The next IMPA solar park site in Montgomery County is projected to be in Waynetown with construction taking place early in 2016.