AEP Representative Speaks at NCBCA Meeting
The New Carlisle Business & Community Association invited Community Affairs Manager Mark Robinson from Indiana Michigan Power to speak at their January 2017 meeting.
Mr. Robinson explained what all is involved in the new Olive Solar Generation Plant.
The Olive Solar Generation Plant is the largest of the four solar plants built by I&M in 2016. When operating at full capacity, it produces five (5) megawatts (MW) of electricity.
Its generation over a year’s time frame is enough to power about 700 typical homes for the year. The plant covers 40 acres and includes 57,500 solar panels.
The Olive plant is part of I&M’s Clean Energy Solar Pilot Project. I&M built four solar plants with the intention of not only generating clean renewable energy for our customers but also to analyze the details involved in building and operating the plants to build on our expertise for future solar projects.
Contractors, the type of panels and locations were varied to analyze performance under varying conditions. New Carlisle was chosen as the site of a plant because it is in the northern portion of our Indiana service area. I&M already owned sufficient property there, and it is adjacent to a substation.
The solar panels generate the most energy on sunny days. They will generate energy on cloudy days, but at a reduced rate.
If entirely covered with snow, they will not generate. But if a portion of the panel is exposed to light, it will generate energy at a reduced rate. The vertical tilt of the panels accelerates the snow runoff from the panels. Maintenance needs are minimal, far less than a nuclear or coal plant requires.
Maintenance includes replacing any fuses or filters, vegetation management and checking the panels for any damage.
I&M’s four solar plants combined have the capacity to produce nearly 15 MW of energy, and can power 2,000 homes for a year.
The four solar plants are part of I&M’s diverse generation fleet that also include 450 MW of power purchased from Indiana wind farms; six hydroelectric plants; the Cook Nuclear Plant; and a coal-fueled plant in southern Indiana. Diversity in generation gives I&M more flexibility to adapt to market conditions and changing government regulations.
Other reasons I&M has added solar power include: 1) The price of solar panels and technology has fallen to the point where it is a practical option; 2) Many customers have expressed interest in reducing their carbon footprint and using more energy from renewable sources; 3) I&M wants to serve its customers in the ways they want to be served.
Our I&M Solar program offers customers the ability to demonstrate their support for solar power and attribute some or all of their energy use to solar. See www.IndianaMichiganPower.com/Solar.
Thanks to Tracy Warner, Principal Communications Representative for AEP Indiana Michigan Power, for this information.