Indiana Michigan Power (I&M), an operating unit of American Electric Power, is now generating energy at its first Michiana-area solar power plant, doubling the company’s solar capacity.
The Twin Branch Solar Power Plant went online following a thorough testing and commissioning process. The facility is generating up to 2.6 MW of electricity, and its generation is expected to power the equivalent of about 365 homes annually.
“I&M is very proud to enhance the South Bend area with yet another form of carbon-emission free energy,” says Paul Chodak III, president and chief operating officer of I&M. “Adding energy from the Twin Branch Solar plant to our area distribution system is another step toward boosting I&M’s use of renewables.”
The Twin Branch plant is located just east of Mishawaka, in an industrial area north of the AM General factory. The project is the second of four I&M planned solar plants to go online. The 2.5 MW Deer Creek plant just outside of Marion, Ind., entered operations in 2015. Construction is ongoing at two additional Michiana solar plants – located near New Carlisle, Ind., and Watervliet, Mich. – that will begin generating solar energy later this year. Combined, the four solar plants will have a capacity of nearly 15 MW and produce enough energy to power 2,000 homes annually, according to I&M.
The four plants are part of I&M’s Clean Energy Solar Pilot Project.
“We know our customers want more renewable energy, and this pilot project will be a strong foundation as we plan more large-scale solar power plants,” explains Chodak.
In addition to solar, I&M’s generation portfolio also includes nuclear, hydro, coal and, through power purchase agreements, wind. The company says about 60% of the energy it generated in 2015 came from non-carbon-emitting sources.