FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Indiana Michigan Power (I&M), an operating unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), has begun generating solar power, adding an important form of renewable energy to its generation fleet.
The Deer Creek Solar Facility, just south of Marion, Ind., went online Dec. 31 following a thorough commissioning process to ensure all equipment is functioning properly and safely. The facility is generating up to 2.5 megawatts of electricity, and its generation is expected to power the equivalent of about 350 homes annually.
“This is a significant milestone for Indiana Michigan Power and our customers,” said Paul Chodak III, President and Chief Operating Officer 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 megawatts 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 percent of a typical home’s electric use. To learn more about IM Solar or to sign up, go to www.IndianaMichiganPower.com/Solar.
“Customers have increasingly told us they want more renewable energy, and our large-scale solar facilities will be significantly more efficient than rooftop solar,” Chodak said.
The new solar power further diversifies I&M’s generation portfolio, which also includes nuclear, hydro, coal and, through power purchase agreements, wind. About half of I&M’s generation portfolio is from non-carbon-emitting sources.
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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’s generation portfolio also includes 450 MW of purchased wind generation and, by the end of 2016, approximately 15 MW of large-scale solar generation.
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to nearly 5.4 million customers through 223,000 miles of distribution lines in 11 states. AEP owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 32,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. 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.