By Steven Penn
A groundbreaking for the largest airport solar farm in the United States took place at the Indianapolis International Airport (IND) Friday, as Indianapolis continues its commitment to renewable energy.
Partners in the 75-acre, $35 to $40 million alternative energy project include IND, the City of Indianapolis, General Energy Solutions Inc., Telamon Corporation, Johnson Melloh Solutions, Indianapolis Power and Light Company (IPL), and Cenergy Power.
“Today’s groundbreaking marks the latest step by the City of Indianapolis to encourage the development and use of renewable energy sources,” Mayor Greg Ballard said in a press release. “Through our Office of Sustainability and my initiative to transition the city’s entire vehicle fleet to post-oil fuel by 2025, Indianapolis is quickly becoming a leader in the Midwest in embracing new energy technologies.”
At the groundbreaking, confidence and optimism for the future were two of the main themes as those involved gathered to take the next step into making the IND Solar Farm a reality.
Kelly Flynn, vice president of the Indianapolis Airport Authority board (IAA), was one of the many speakers at the groundbreaking event.
“I’d like to thank Mayor Ballard for his support of this project and also congressmen (Todd) Rokita and (André) Carson for their help along the way,” Flynn said. “Thanks to our fellow project partners also, for making today possible. This groundbreaking underscores the
Indianapolis Airport Authority’s long-standing commitment to sustainability.”
William Pham, president of Cenergy Power, the company that will handle most of the engineering aspects, commended Indianapolis for being one of the few cities in the country to undertake a project like this.
“Try to think of how many airport projects there are in this country, you’re probably talking about less than 10,” Pham said. “For Indianapolis to probably be the largest to date, it’s a real testament to what the local economy and ... the state ... has been able to do.”
IPL President and CEO Ken Zagzebski said he was proud to be able to continue IPL’s commitment to developing alternative resources.
“We really want to be (one of) the environmentally friendly utility companies in the nation,” he said. “... We have this project, and we have about 30 other solar projects around the city. When (the projects are) complete, we’ll be the leader in terms of solar (energy) across the central part of the United States.”
Per information released on the project, construction on the IND solar farm, which will be located at the entrance of the airport, begins this month, with commissioning slated for next fall. The solar farm will be comprised of more than 41,000 solar panels and will have the capacity to produce enough renewable energy to prevent about 10,700 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the environment each year.
For more information on the IND Solar Farm, visit the website at www.indsolarfarm.com and the IND Solar Farm Facebook page.