Indiana Michigan Power (I&M), an operating unit of American Electric
Power (NYSE: AEP), held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for its first solar power plant in
Michigan, on a 35-acre site just east of Watervliet.
The Watervliet Solar Power Plant will have more than 50,000 solar panels and generate up to
4.6 megawatts of emission-free energy. The facility is expected to generate energy equivalent
to powering about 650 homes annually.
“I&M is pleased to add solar power to our fleet of emission-free generation sources in Michigan,”
said Paul Chodak III, President and Chief Operating Officer of I&M. “Four decades after our
Cook Nuclear Plant began generating carbon-free energy in Michigan, this solar power plant is
part of a pilot project that will play a significant role in I&M’s use of the sun to provide energy.
I&M already uses wind, water and nuclear energy to generate half of our power, and solar is yet
another emission-free energy source.”
“I&M wishes to thank the Watervliet community for welcoming us,” Chodak said. “Growing solar
energy and harvesting the sun in the same manner that this land was once used to harvest
crops is an innovative use of the property.”
The Watervliet plant is one of four solar power generation plants in I&M’s Clean Energy Solar
Pilot Project. The Deer Creek plant near Marion, Ind., has been operational since late in 2015.
Construction has already begun at the Twin Branch and Olive plants, both in St. Joseph County,
Indiana. All three of the Michiana solar plants will be generating energy for customers by the
end of 2016.
Together, the four plants will have the capacity to generate about 15 megawatts of energy and
have the ability to power the equivalent of 2,000 homes. I&M will build upon the experience in
generating solar energy and plants’ interconnection with the electric grid as the company looks
to build additional solar plants in the future.
I&M contracted with First Solar Inc., a global leader in photovoltaic (PV) solar energy solutions,
to build the three Michiana area plants.