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Indy Airport Plans 10MW Solar Facility

Indianapolis International Airport is seeking a developer to build a 10MW ground-mounted solar array near the end of a runway.

The solar power system, on 30 acres of airport-owned land, would be the biggest in the state, according to the Indianapolis Star.

The installation would generate enough electricity to power up to 6,000 homes. Utility Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL) would buy the system’s output.

Plans for solar panels were part of a larger strategy adopted by the airport on Friday to generate more than $190 million over 30 years by using hundreds of acres of undeveloped land, the Star said.

The airport did not release revenue projections for the solar farm, but IPL’s website says that it pays up to 24 cents per kWh for solar energy, the Star reported. But the utility has filed a request with regulators to suspend that rate offer until it can limit participation in the tariff to existing IPL customers.

The rate has proven so attractive that it has attracted very large renewable energy proposals which challenge the capacity of IPL’s system, the Star said.

Airports in Denver and Fresno, Calif., have installed solar power facilities near their runways, on land not otherwise suitable for development. And Las Vegas‘s McCarran International Airport is planning a one-megawatt solar plant atop the garage for Terminal 3, with plans for more solar panels in the future.

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