Indiana Michigan Power (I&M), an operating unit of American Electric Power, has broken ground on its first solar power plant in Michigan, on a 35-acre site just east of Watervliet.
The Watervliet Solar Power Plant will have more than 50,000 solar panels and generate up to 4.6 MW. According to the utility, the facility is expected to generate energy equivalent to powering about 650 homes annually.
“I&M is pleased to add solar power to our fleet of emission-free generation sources in Michigan,” says Paul Chodak III, president and chief operating officer of I&M. “Four decades after our Cook Nuclear Plant began generating carbon-free energy in Michigan, this solar power plant is part of a pilot project that will play a significant role in I&M’s use of the sun to provide energy. I&M already uses wind, water and nuclear energy to generate half of our power, and solar is yet another emission-free energy source.”
The Watervliet plant is one of four solar power generation plants in I&M’s Clean Energy Solar Pilot Project. The Deer Creek plant near Marion, Ind., has been operational since late 2015, and construction has already begun at the Twin Branch and Olive plants, both in St. Joseph County, Ind. Together, the four plants will have the capacity to generate about 15 MW of energy.
I&M says it will build upon the experience in generating solar energy and the plants’ interconnection with the electric grid as the company looks to build additional solar projects in the future.