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I&M Going Solar

Indiana Michigan Power hopes to add more services for you, its customer, through renewable energy.
Indiana Michigan Power hopes to add more services for you, its customer, through renewable energy.

The electric utility already produces a portion of its power from wind farms and hydroelectric dams.

Now, it has plans to build five solar generation plants in our region.

WFFT Local News spoke with I&M officials about the details about how it could affect your power and your bill.

It's part of the Clean Energy Solar Pilot Project and Indiana Michigan Power spokesperson Tracy Warner says it's sunny skies for the electric utility.

If approved by the Indiana Utility regulation board, I&M would build five solar farms from here to Michigan.

"Together they'll generate up to sixteen megawatts of electricity, and that's enough to power more than 2500 homes for a year,” Warner says.

With 587,130 customers in Indiana and Michigan, that represents less than half of one percent of its customer base.

Now it might not sound like too much, but there is room for it to grow.

And in fact, the wind initiative it started a few years ago has already tripled from 150 megawatts to 450 megawatts.

"It will be a small portion of our generation. This is a pilot project where we will gain experience working in solar at a utility level,” Warner says.

The project would cost $38 million and Warner says you might not even notice the increase to your bill.

"I can't say exactly, but it's a matter of cents, not dollars,” Warner says.

Construction would start in early 2016 with the first solar energy hitting the grid by the end of the year.

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