If approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, the Clean Energy Solar Pilot Project will have a combined generation capacity of about 16MW, producing energy equivalent to powering more than 2,500 homes for a year.

I&M’s Clean Energy Solar generation facilities will be located in different areas of the company’s service territory in the two states. Facilities are tentatively expected to be located in the Muncie-Marion area, South Bend area and in Michigan, but locations of all five facilities have yet to be finalized.

"I&M constantly looks at emerging technologies and our customers’ evolving needs, and now is the right time to move forward with solar power," said Paul Chodak III, President and Chief Operating Officer of Indiana Michigan Power.

"With this project, I&M will further broaden the diversity of our power generation, with three sources of renewable energy – solar, wind and water," Chodak added. "In addition, more than one-third of the power we produce comes from the emission-free Cook Nuclear Plant."

Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in early 2016, with completion expected in in late 2016.

In addition to the new source of clean energy, I&M will use the Clean Energy Solar Pilot Project as an opportunity to study first-hand the various facets of designing, constructing and operating a utility-scale solar facility. Being owner and operator of the Clean Energy Solar Pilot Project facilities will enable I&M to become proficient in operating solar generation and integrating it reliably into the transmission grid.

"We will use the knowledge we gain from operating this pilot project to help offer customers additional safe, reliable, clean energy as we further expand solar production and examine other generation options in the future," Chodak said.

I&M recognizes that many customers have expressed a desire for access to more power produced by solar and other clean, renewable sources. The Clean Energy Solar Pilot Project will give customers the opportunity to begin buying solar power from a trusted, experienced company staffed with qualified professionals.

I&M is also seeking approval from state regulators to give customers the option of showing further support for solar power by subscribing to receive 50 kilowatt hour blocks of Solar Renewable Energy Credits through the new Green Power Program.

The estimated cost of the project is $38 million. If approved by the IURC, the project would result in a minimal impact on customer rates of less than 1 percent.