SHELBY COUNTY - Plans for a massive solar installation in Shelby County continue to move forward. The Shelby County Development Corp. says the $175 million Speedway Solar project has received all necessary approvals from local authorities, with construction set to begin in 2022.

The 199-megawatt solar array, which is being developed by New York-based Ranger Power, is expected to be brought online in 2023 and will generate enough power to serve 35,000 households. The project is expected to create four permanent jobs to operate and maintain the site, as well as 400 construction jobs.

"Ranger Power is a large economic boost for Shelby County," said Brian Asher, executive director of Shelby County Development Corp. "It not only adds to our tax base, but it continues to diversify our industry mix outside of existing automotive manufacturing."

The majority of the 1,200-acre site will be used for solar panels, with the remainder being used for buffer space and other project elements, according to the organization. 

In December, Indianapolis-based Wabash Valley Power Association announced it had committed to purchasing 100 percent of the energy produced at Speedway Solar. The wholesale electric supplier provides electricity to 19 nonprofit electric cooperatives throughout the state.

Asher adds preparations will continue in the lead-up to the start of construction.