CRANE - Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch joined officials from Planfield-based Duke Energy Indiana, the Department of the Navy and Naval Support Activity Crane to cut the ribbon on a 17-megawatt solar power plant at the naval base. The $42 million solar plant includes 76,000 solar panels across 145 acres.

Duke Energy announced plans for the facility in January 2016, saying it would be one of the largest solar facilities in the state. The utility will own, operate and maintain the plant while NSA Crane will receive electrical infrastructure upgrades for providing the land.

"This solar power plant helps provide our customers with a more balanced energy mix using both traditional fuel sources and renewable energy sources," said Melody Birmingham-Byrd, president of Duke Energy Indiana. "We are pleased to partner with the Navy on a project that will deliver clean energy to Indiana customers, and improved energy security for the Navy."

Crouch says the project will serve as a catalyst for future energy infrastructure projects for the Navy in addition to bringing more energy management to the state. She says that work will spur innovation and growth.

Commander Timothy Craddock, commanding officer of NSA Crane, says the project "stands as a monument to our enduring relationship with the state of Indiana and our energy partners. Through this endeavor, we are providing and promoting energy sustainability and bringing renewable energy options to the installation and neighboring communities."

(pictured left to right) Melody Birmingham-Byrd, Duke Energy Indiana state president; Cmdr. Timothy Craddock, NSA Crane; Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch; John Kleim, executive director, Department of the Navy’s Resilient Energy Program Office