Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana and First Solar announced that Vectren has selected First Solar to build the 50-megawatt (MW) solar array outlined last month as part of Vectren’s long-term electric generation transition plan.
During the past few months, Vectren has been working with Orion Renewable Power Resources, LLC, a joint venture between Orion Renewable Energy Group and MAP Renewable Energy, to select, secure and eventually develop the Troy, Ind. property.
The solar array will be situated on approximately 300 acres and will consist of about 150,000 solar panels. The array will be mounted on a single-axis tracking system, which enables the panels to automatically pivot to enhance energy generation as the sun’s rays move across the surface of the Earth. The facility, which should be fully operational in the fall of 2020, is expected to generate enough power to meet the needs of more than 11,000 households per year.
“This significant renewable resource will be connected to our system to serve our local customers,” said Carl Chapman, chairman, president and CEO of Vectren. “We are confident First Solar and Orion are the right partners for this scale of a project, which will bring one of the largest single-sited solar farms in the Midwest to southern Indiana.”
Construction will begin after the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission authorizes the project; a decision is expected in the first half 2019. The initial construction phase will require establishing a sub-station to interconnect with Vectren’s power grid and will begin immediately upon regulatory approval. The construction of the solar array will begin in mid-late 2019.
“First Solar’s expertise in design and construction of solar power plants aligns perfectly with Vectren’s Smart Energy Future strategy. Using our high performance Series 6 thin film modules and a plant design approach tailored to utility ownership values, we will contribute significantly to Vectren’s commitment to deliver clean, reliable and reasonably-priced energy to its customers,” said Eran Mahrer, Vice President – Markets, Origination and Government Affairs for First Solar. “It is exciting to be a part of enabling utility scale solar in Indiana.”
During construction, the project will provide up to 250 jobs, many of which will be union labor.