Houston-headquartered renewables company EDP Renewables North America has completed a 200-megawatt (MW) solar farm in Randolph County, Indiana, northeast of Indianapolis. It’s now the largest-capacity solar farm in Indiana.
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Indiana’s largest solar farm
Riverstart Solar Park has a sole 20-year power purchase agreement with electricity supply cooperative Hoosier Energy, which will use the clean energy to power households in central and southern Indiana and southeastern Illinois.
The $180 million solar farm will produce enough energy to supply the equivalent of more than 36,000 average households in the state annually, and it will provide around $54 million to local landowners.
Sandhya Ganapathy, CEO of EDP Renewables North America, said:
Riverstart brings Indiana one step closer to a clean energy future.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), as of the third quarter of 2021, Indiana had 1,343.4 MW of solar installed. The state’s national solar ranking is 18th, jumping from 32nd in 2020. Its growth projection is 5,971 MW over the next five years, and it’s expected to move to the number four spot in state rankings.
It’s good that Indiana has a whole lot more clean energy planned because it’s also a serious fossil-fuel-consuming state.
In 2020, Indiana ranked third in the US in total coal consumption and coal consumption for electricity generation, after Texas and Missouri. Coal fueled 53% of Indiana’s electricity net generation that year. The state hosts the largest inland oil refinery in the United States, and it also consumes a lot of natural gas.
To put that current number 18 solar ranking into perspective, only 0.83% of Indiana’s electricity comes from solar.
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), wind power provided 7% of Indiana’s utility-scale electricity net generation in 2020, while solar, biomass, and hydropower combined accounted for less than 2% of generation.
So, more big solar farms like Riverstart are exactly what Indiana needs. (Hoosier Energy’s website states that its goal is to “provide 10% of member energy requirements from renewables.” It doesn’t say what the timescale of that lame goal is.)
Indiana, like the United States as a whole, is generally going in the right direction when it comes to adopting renewables. But, the state still has a lot of work to do to kick its fossil-fuel habit – and it better do it fast.
Photo: EDP Renewables North America
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