Solar farm plans

The planned solar field on the west end of the city received approval from the Logansport Utility Service Board earlier this week.

The approval included a 30-year agreement with Inovateus Solar of South Bend to provide power to the city and an agreement that the land, which is located in the 1400 block of Holland Street, will be annexed into the city next year.

Mayor Dave Kitchell said municipalities cannot annex land the year of a census. That law keep cities and towns from suddenly increasing size and population for the census.

The 30-year agreement will lock in rates for Logansport for the electricity produced by the solar field. After that, there will be a five-year period where the city can renegotiate rates, and the city can take over the project should Inovateus cease to exist.

In the final five years, the city will have the option to purchase the land, create a new solar field or walk away from it.

“In 30 years, who knows what it’ll be like,” Kitchell said.

The project will consist of just over 51,000 solar panels, scaled back from original plans after residents complained about their homes being surrounded by the solar panels.

Inovateus added approximately six acres of buffer around homes along Kiesling Road.

Kitchell said the solar field was originally proposed to be the largest solar project in Indiana, but the current proposal will be “coordinated to feed the LMU grid through a substation on the northwest side.”

The city’s Purchased Power Agreement (PPA) with its energy provider Next Era allows the city and Logansport Municipal Utilities to purchase some of the city’s power through solar outlets, and there’s room in the agreement for the city to use more solar power.

Because the solar field is so close to the city, Logansport will still have some power if the electrical grid goes down, as it has in places like Puerto Rico, he said.

“It won’t power everything in the system, but I don’t think this will be the last solar field we do,” Kitchell said.

The city is looking at another solar field and met with another solar firm on Tuesday about a possible solar field at the Trelleborg site at 1 General St. Logansport owns that property, which was originally General Tire.

The property has underground contamination that needs to be removed, but the contamination doesn’t extend to along the southern edge, Kitchell said.

That area is subdivided into nine lots, which the new solar developer would like to put nine homes on. Those homes would block the view of solar panels behind them, he said.

“The city is working with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to resolve environmental issues on another portion of the property” before a solar field could go in, according to a city press release.

Kitchell thanked City Council President Dave Morris, the solar committee and the USB for their patience and support on the project and Utilities Manager Paul Hartman and Distribution Manager Bob Dunderman for help.

Reach James D. Wolf Jr. at james.wolf@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5117. Twitter: @JamesDWolfJr

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