The Twin Branch Solar Facility, northeast of Mishawaka in a commercial/ industrial area, will have nearly 29,000 solar panels and a generation capacity of 2.6 megawatts of emission-free energy. The facility is expected to generate energy equivalent to powering more than 350 homes annually.
Â“I&M sees a bright future in solar power, and we are pleased to bring large-scale solar generation to Michiana,Â” said Paul Chodak III, President and Chief Operating Officer of Indiana Michigan Power I&M, an operating unit of American Electric Power.
Large-scale solar generation is 30 percent to 50 percent less costly than rooftop solar.
Â“When the Twin Branch and three other I&M solar facilities go online, we will add about 15 megawatts of emission-free energy that already includes nuclear, wind and hydro,Â” Chodak said. Â“In fact, over 50 percent of I&MÂ’s generation fleet is already emission-free.Â”
I&M contracted with First Solar Inc., a global leader in photovoltaic PV solar energy solutions, to build the Twin Branch facility as well as planned facilities near New Carlisle and Watervliet, Michigan. All three of those facilities are expected to be generating energy for I&M customers by the end of 2016.
Also recently, I&M formally launched IM Solar, a program that allows I&MÂ’s Indiana customers to participate in the growth of solar power by subscribing to 50-kilowatt-hour blocks for $2.21 per block monthly. Subscription proceeds will retire solar Renewable Energy Certificates RECsthat I&MÂ’s solar generation creates, going directly toward supporting the solar projects.
Â“IM Solar gives all of our Indiana customers the opportunity to effectively reduce their CO2/environmental footprint in a cost-effective manner,Â” Chodak said. Â“We will be happy to build more of these installations as needed to meet customer demand.Â”
Indiana Michigan Power I&M serves 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 and, by the end of 2016, approximately 15 MW of large-scale solar generation.