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Airport Authority picks local firms to develop 60-acre solar farm

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The Indianapolis Airport Authority announced Tuesday that it has selected a joint venture of three locally based firms to develop a 60-acre solar farm on airport property.

ET Energy Solutions LLC, a joint venture between construction company Johnson-Melloh Solutions, design firm Schmidt Associates and technology firm Telamon Corp., will develop what the airport authority says could be one of the largest airport-based solar farms in North America.

Construction could start next month and be concluded by the middle of 2012. Carmel-based Telamon will own a 50-percent stake in the joint venture.

The project will cost an estimated $35 million to $45 million to build and create about 85 construction jobs and 18 permanent positions once it is fully operational, according to company officials.

The project is expected to use more than 41,000 solar panels that will annually produce more than 15 million kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power more than 1,200 average American homes for a year.

Under the agreement, ET Energy Solutions will finance, design, construct, and operate the facility on land near Interstate 70 leased from the airport. Tokyo-based Sanyo Electric Group Ltd. will provide panels for the project and assist with arranging financing.

Indianapolis Power & Light Co. will buy the power and receive it through existing surface transmission lines that connect the airport terminal to the IPL substation west of the airport.

The airport said no public or airport funds are expected to be involved in the project.

As IBJ reported in February 2010, a solar farm was part of the airport authority's newest land-use plan.

The "solar farm is just the latest innovation in our land-use strategy moving toward implementation,” said John D. Clark III, CEO of the authority. “It supports our commitment to sustainability while helping to grow and diversify our revenue stream."



 



 

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  • Permanent Jobs?
    I would like to see the calculation on the permanent jobs created. Solar PV is relatively maintenance free, typically involving only an annual cleaning of the panels and tightening of lugs on electrical equipment.

    It would be interesting to know if the airport is just leasing the land or if they are also buying back the power produced. Solar power would go for more than the base load $/kwh in Indiana, but could offer benefit if the airport has high demand charges for electricity.
  • Tax Rolls
    Are the 60 acres on the tax rolls?
  • No Glare panels
    The panel technology does not produce a reflective surface, rather it is a dark flat blue that absorbs the light, not relecting it
  • Solar Flare
    Has anybody thought about the blinding glare from below that these panels will send up as planes land at the airport???
    • Question
      How much is the airport land lease or any other revenue from this?

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