News release from Indiana Michigan Power:
I&M breaks ground on first solar generation facility
(July 24, 2015) – Indiana Michigan Power (I&M), an operating unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), broke ground today on its first solar generation facility.
The facility will consist 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 facility will have a capacity of 2.5 megawatts and is expected to begin generating energy by the end of this year.
The Deer Creek solar facility is the first to be owned and operated by I&M and its parent company, AEP. “This is truly an historic day for I&M and for Marion,” said Paul Chodak III, President and Chief Operating Officer of Indiana Michigan Power. “Adding this clean, renewable energy further diversifies I&M’s generation portfolio, and it is an important step toward recognizing the increasing preferences of our customers, our company and our government for green energy.”
The Marion facility is one of four solar facilities that will generate up to about 15 megawatts of energy for I&M by the end of 2016.
“Together, these facilities will provide I&M an opportunity to gain valuable experience in the design and construction of utility-scale solar projects,” Chodak said. “They will enable I&M to become proficient in operating solar generation and integrating it reliably into the energy delivery grid. This knowledge will be of use to I&M and its customers as we move toward adding utility-scale solar in the coming years.”
Marion is an appropriate location for I&M to deploy cutting edge technology. More than a century ago, a transmission line was built to connect Marion’s local utility with Muncie’s – the first interconnection between electric utilities in the nation. Those two utilities were among the first the newly formed American Gas and Electric, AEP’s forerunner, purchased in 1907.
I&M contracted with an Indiana company, Inovateus Solar of South Bend, to design and build the facility. Construction is expected to begin within a few weeks. The panels are expected to generate the most energy when it is needed most – during hot, sunny summer days.
Later this year, I&M expects to begin construction on a second facility in Mishawaka. Facilities are also planned west of South Bend and near Watervliet, Mich.
About Indiana Michigan Power
Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its 2,450 employees serve more than 589,000 customers. It operates 2,600 MW of coal-fired generation in Indiana, 2,160 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan and 22 MW of hydro generation in both states. The company also provides its customers 450 MW of purchased wind generation.
About American Electric Power
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5.3 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 32,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas,
Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.