IND Solar Farm – Construction Update

Construction of the largest planned airport-based solar farm in North America is ahead of schedule according to project partners General Energy Solutions USA (GES), Cenergy Power, Telamon Corporation, and Johnson Melloh Solutions. Official construction began immediately following the March 2013 groundbreaking ceremony at the entrance to the Indianapolis International Airport (IND). The 75-acre solar farm will generate annually more than 15 million kilowatt hours of electric energy, enough to power more than 1,200 average American homes for a year.

As traffic flows around the airport, significant visual changes are apparent. Currently 6,111 racking posts have been installed throughout the property. Each post has been driven 9 feet into the ground, according to Cenergy Power construction manager Chris Sears. The posts support 1,960 racks or arrays with each array holding 28 panels. At construction completion, there will be more than 41,000 panels, each measuring approximately three-by-six feet.

Solar panels have begun to be hung on the south end of the farm. After all the panels are hung, each solar panel will be connected to one of twenty inverters. Electricity from the solar panels will then be distributed out to IPL’s electric grid. This power will be purchased from the owner of the solar farm, GES, by Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL).

The solar farm is scheduled to commission in September 2013.

The $35-$40 million dollar alternative energy project is a significant public-private partnership that includes the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA), the City of Indianapolis, and privately held businesses GES, Telamon Corporation, Johnson Melloh Solutions, Cenergy Power and Indianapolis Power & Light Company. All entities involved are committed to finding creative solutions to increase sustainability in Indianapolis while helping diversify generation sources of electric power for Indianapolis businesses and residential customers.

Phase I Solar Farm Facts

  • 75-acre solar farm
  • Will prevent approximately 10,700 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the environment each year – the equivalent of removing approximately 2,000 cars from the roads of Central Indiana
  • Normal time frame of 18-24 months of planning and development after all agreements have been signed
  • Annually will produce more than 15 million kilowatt hours of electric energy
  • Will power 1,200 average American homes for a year
  • Will comprise more than 41,000 solar panels
  • Project has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval
  • All permits have been obtained including drainage, structural, electrical and airport work permits

Timeline of IND Solar Farm Construction & Deployment

  • Project Announcement (September 2011)
  • Pre-Development Activities (October 2011-August 2012)
  • Permitting & Approvals (September 2012-February 2013)
  • Pre-Construction Activities (February 2013-March 2013)
  • Construction (March 2013-August 2013)
  • Commissioning September 2013)