Indiana Michigan Power incorporates solar power plants into grid

The Arizona-based solar power company First Solar, Inc. recently joined Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) to break ground on the Twin Branch Solar Facility in Mishawaka, Indiana.

The project is expected to generate 2.6 megawatts (MW) of power when it goes online. The Mishawaka facility will be the first of three plants First Solar is building for I&M.

Paul Chodak III, President and CEO of Indiana Michigan Power, said the utility company is pleased to be building up major solar infrastructure alongside First Solar.

“I&M and First Solar will be building cost-effective, efficient facilities that will serve customers well by further diversifying I&M’s generation with zero carbon footprint,” Chodak said.

First Solar’s Senior Director of Business Development Eran Mahrer said the cooperation between an alternative energy company and a major regional utility foreshadows the future of America’s energy industry.

Mahrer said I&M is “aggressively developing a fleet of renewable energy generation facilities in the region, and their commitment to solar power as a cornerstone of that renewable portfolio is at the forefront of a national trend.”

On top of the Mishawaka plant, First Solar will soon start building a 5MW facility in New Carlisle, Indiana and another 4.6MW plant in Watervliet, Indiana. Each of the three solar projects will incorporate First Solar’s advanced thin film photovoltaic technology.

The three projects are slated to start operating by the end of 2016 with the electricity produced flowing directly into I&M’s existing grid system.

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