I&M Progresses on Solar Goals

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(Image courtesy of I&M) (Image courtesy of I&M)

Another solar power plant has begun generating power in the state. Fort Wayne-based Indiana Michigan Power says the Twin Branch operation, just east of Mishawaka, doubles the utility's solar capacity.

Construction began in October and the facility has a 2.6 megawatt generating capacity. Twin Branch is located near the big AM General LLC assembly plant in Mishawaka, which the company say could produce enough energy to power 365 homes per year.

Chief Executive Officer Chodak III says "I&M is very proud to enhance the South Bend area with yet another form of carbon-emission free energy. 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 announcement is part of the American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) subsidiary's move to diversify, called the Clean Energy Solar Pilot Project. I&M is planning a total of four solar plants, including one near New Carlisle that could begin producing electricity by year's end. At the end of last year, the 2.5 megawatt Deer Creek plant near Marion came online. In January, the utility began building its first solar installation in Michigan, the 4.6 megawatt Watervliet Solar Power Plant.

In all, the plants will have a capacity of around 15 megawatts. I&M employs a total of 2,450 who serve nearly 590,000 customers. The vast majority of its energy is powered by coal-fired facilities, but the generation portfolio also includes nuclear, hydro, solar and (through purchase power agreements) wind.

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