Largest Capacity Solar Farm in Indiana Begins Operation

A Texas-based renewable energy company has completed a $180 million solar power project that it said is the largest array by generation capacity in the state of Indiana.

EDP Renewables North America on Jan. 13 said the 200-MW Riverstart Solar Park in Randolph County, about 80 miles northeast of Indianapolis, is now fully operational, with an expected 35-year lifecycle. EDP said it expects the project, in addition to supplying electricity, also will provide about $54 million to area landowners and the local community, with more than $8 million going to local government to support schools and road improvements, along with other infrastructure. EDP said about 700 jobs were created for construction of the project.

The 200-MW Riverstart Solar Park in Randolph County is to date the largest solar farm by capacity in Indiana. Courtesy: EDP Renewables NA

“EDP Renewables is committed to being a leader in clean energy progression, and the completion of Riverstart Solar Park further paves the way toward this movement,” said Sandhya Ganapathy, EDP Renewables North America CEO, in a news release. “Riverstart brings Indiana one step closer to a clean energy future.”

PPA With Hoosier Energy

The Riverstart Solar Park has a 20-year purchase power agreement with Bloomington, Indiana-based Hoosier Energy, which will use the electricity from the park to power communities throughout central and southern Indiana as well as southeastern Illinois. Officials also touted the project as further diversifying the region’s power grid, which for years has been heavily dependent on coal-fired power generation.

Indiana ranks third in the nation in the electricity in total coal consumption and coal consumption for electricity generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, behind only Texas and Missouri. The agency said about 53% of the state’s net electricity generation came from coal-fired power plants in 2020.

Diversifying Generation

“This collaboration continues our diversification of Hoosier Energy’s resource portfolio, including a higher percentage of renewable sources,” said Donna Walker, Hoosier Energy president and CEO. “Riverstart Solar Park will provide an economical source of renewable energy for the next two decades and is a great fit for our members’ long-term needs.” 

Connor, Clark & Lunn Infrastructure, a Canadian group, and its investment partner, Canada-based Desjardins Group, will own and operate Riverstart Solar Park alongside EDP Renewables.

“We are pleased to own and operate this large-scale solar project,” said Matt O’Brien, president of CC&L Infrastructure. “As long-term investors, we believe in responsible investment. CC&L Infrastructure is focused on investing in essential infrastructure projects that support local communities while creating value for customers, employees and investors. We look forward to working together to supply Hoosier [Energy] and Randolph County with solar power for the decades to come.”

Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).


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