$164 million solar farm proposed in St. Joseph County

Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 5:44 PM EDT
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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - Some serious ‘panel discussions’ are taking place in St. Joseph County.

They could put hundreds of thousands of solar panels on agricultural land north of the Indiana Enterprise Center near New Carlisle.

A solar farm proposed by RES (Renewable Energy Systems) would cost some $164 million to build and create up to 200 new jobs during construction. Plans call for the work to start in the summer of next year and finish in late 2023.

The facility would create up to 150-megawatts of electricity a year, which is seven and a half times more than the solar farm Indiana Michigan Power fired up this year in the eastern portion of St. Joseph County.

“Were producing energy that produces no air emissions, uses very little water, it doesn’t make a lot of noise,” RES Permitting Manager Anne-Marie Griger told 16 News Now in a telephone interview.

When asked if St. Joseph County had enough sunshine to make such a project work, Griger replied, “Well, you know, we’re building solar everywhere. I mean, you know, Canada is building solar farms too. So, solar is not exactly like wind, for example, where there really are places that are suitable for wind and others that are not.”

Griger says RES already has signed leases that make up a 1,900-acre site.

At this point, the project hinges on finding a buyer for the power produced, and on the successful negotiation of a development agreement with county government that could include the creation of a new TIF district. “We’ve been working with the county on tax increment financing structure,” said Griger. “The idea is not to have any sort of public financing at all for the project. It would all be privately financed.

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