Indiana energy holding company Vectren Energy Delivery (Vectren), has selected First Solar, Inc. to construct the 50-megawatt (MW) cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film solar array sketched out last month as part of Vectren’s long-term plan for electric generation. Over the last few months, Vectren has been working with Orion Renewable Power Resources, LLC, a joint venture between Orion Renewable Energy Group and MAP®Renewable Energy, to select, secure and eventually develop the Troy, Indiana property.
The solar array will be located on about 300 acres and will consist of about 150,000 solar panels. First Solar will mount the array on a single-axis tracking system. The tracking system enables the panels to automatically pivot to improve energy generation as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. The plant, which is expected to be fully operational in the fall of 2020, is anticipated to generate enough power for more than 11,000 households per year.
Carl Chapman, chairman, president, and CEO of Vectren commented, “We are confident First Solar and Orion are the right partners for this scale of a project, which will bring one of the largest single-sited solar farms in the Midwest to southern Indiana.”
First Solar will commence construction of the solar plant using its Series Six CdTe thin-film solar modules after the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission authorizes the project; The commission’s decision is expected in the first half 2019. The first phase of construction will require establishing a sub-station to interconnect with Vectren’s power grid. This phase will begin immediately after regulatory approval. The construction of the solar array is expected to begin in mid-late 2019.
“First Solar’s expertise in design and construction of solar power plants aligns perfectly with Vectren’s Smart Energy Future strategy,” said Eran Mahrer, vice president – markets, origination and government affairs for First Solar.
During construction, the project is projected to provide up to 250 jobs, many of which will be union labor.