SOUTH BEND, Ind., May 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today the Michiana area is greener. That’s because the St. Joseph Solar Farm, developed by Indiana Michigan Power (I&M), a subsidiary of American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP) , in partnership with the University of Notre Dame, is now generating emission-free renewable energy.
During an unveiling ceremony this morning, Lisa Barton, AEP executive vice president and COO; Toby Thomas, I&M president and COO; Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President of the University of Notre Dame; along with Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch and Louie the Lightning Bug, I&M’s mascot, symbolically «flipped the switch» on the new 20-megawatt solar farm, I&M’s fifth and largest solar farm yet.
The University of Notre Dame Partnership
The facility is located along the Indiana Toll Road, east of South Bend, Ind., 8 miles from the University of Notre Dame’s campus.
Notre Dame will promote its sustainability goals by committing to support 40% of the renewable energy certificates (RECs), which represent the clean energy generated by the solar farm.
«This valuable partnership with Notre Dame is another positive step on our journey to creating a cleaner, brighter energy future with our communities,» said Lisa Barton, executive vice president and chief operating officer, AEP. «AEP recently announced our commitment to reach net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. Projects like the St. Joseph Solar Farm help us deliver the reliable and affordable energy our customers expect.»
The St. Joseph Solar Farm is the largest solar endeavor for Notre Dame, which collaborated on the large-scale project.
«Notre Dame is pleased to collaborate with Indiana Michigan Power on this significant solar energy project. Our commitment to sustainability reflects our Catholic mission and values and recognizes the link between environmental sustainability and the University’s future,» said Rev. John I Jenkins, C.S.C, president of the University of Notre Dame. «It’s important to work within our local community to create projects like the St. Joseph Solar Farm to provide educational opportunities for our students and to have an impact on our environment and economy.»
«The St. Joseph solar farm builds on Indiana Michigan Power’s (I&M) commitment to create a sustainable future for our employees, customers and communities we proudly serve in Indiana and Michigan,» said Toby Thomas, I&M president and COO. «A big thank you to the University of Notre Dame for being the first customer to step up and partner with us on a solar farm to create a bright future for our communities.»
Facts About the St. Joseph Solar Farm
After a brief delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, construction on the St. Joseph Solar Farm began in July 2020. It took more than 100 workers eight months and 75,000 plus working hours to construct the St. Joseph Solar Farm.
57,720 First Solar Panels – 86″x51″ each
enough to fill about 30 football fields
Provides enough energy to power 2,700 homes annually
Built on 210 acres of I&M owned land in St. Joseph County
Environmental impact –the same as avoiding more than 13,000 tons of CO2 – the equivalent of more than 30 million miles driven (14,000 trips from South Bend to Los Angeles)
South Bend and St. Joseph County Proclamations
Additionally, during the unveiling event, South Bend Mayor James Mueller presented a proclamation to I&M and Notre Dame hereby proclaiming and recognizing Thursday, May 6, to be «Solar Energy Day» in South Bend, Indiana.
It was proclaimed «Solar Energy Day» day in St. Joseph County, Indiana from the President of County Commissioners, Andrew Kostielney.
I&M Green Program
I&M’s customers can also support a green energy future by participating in the IM Green program, which enables customers to purchase RECs from I&M-owned facilities. This costs as little as pennies per day for an average residential customer.
I&M’s five solar farms generate nearly 35 megawatts of solar energy – enough to power 4,700 homes annually. The addition of the St. Joseph Solar Farm aligns with I&M’s commitment to diversify our generation fleet to build a future that is boundless. In 2020, 85% of the energy I&M generated was emission free. The company owns and operates five solar farms, six run-of-river hydroelectric facilities along the St. Joseph River and purchases power from three wind farms. I&M also generates more than 2,278 megawatts of electricity, with both units operating at the D.C. Cook Nuclear Plant, the equivalent of powering more than 1.5 million homes a year.
For more information, including videos and photos of the St. Joseph Solar Farm, please visit: IndianaMichiganPower.com/StJosephSolar
ABOUT INDIANA MICHIGAN POWER:
Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its approximately 2,100 employees serve more than 600,000 customers. More than 85% of its energy delivered in 2020 was emission-free. I&M has at its availability various sources of generation including 2,278 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan, 450 MW of purchased wind generation from Indiana, more than 22 MW of hydro generation in both states, nearly 35 MW of large-scale solar generation in both states, and 2,620 MW of coal-fueled generation in Indiana.
ABOUT AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER:
American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions to our customers. AEP’s approximately 16,800 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 223,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.5 million regulated customers in 11 states. AEP also is one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 30,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including more than 5,500 megawatts of renewable energy. AEP’s family of companies includes utilities 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, east Texas and the Texas Panhandle). AEP also owns AEP Energy, AEP Energy Partners, AEP OnSite Partners, and AEP Renewables, which provide innovative competitive energy solutions nationwide. For more information, visit aep.com.
ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME:
Founded in 1842, the University of Notre Dame is the nation’s leading Catholic research university, providing a distinctive voice in higher education that is at once rigorously intellectual, unapologetically moral in orientation, and firmly embracing of a service ethos. Rated among the top 20 of all U.S. institutions of higher learning, Notre Dame ranks second nationally in the percentage of students who study abroad and has seen research funding increase from $87 million to $141.5 million in the past decade. The University is organized into four undergraduate colleges — Arts and Letters, Science, Engineering, and the Mendoza College of Business — the School of Architecture, the Keough School of Global Affairs, the Law School and the Graduate School. It is located adjacent to the city of South Bend, Indiana, in a region with a population of more than 300,000, and is widely known for the beauty of its campus, including the Golden Dome of the Main Building, the world’s most recognized university landmark.
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SOURCE American Electric Power