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The University of Notre Dame commits to new I&M solar farm

Indiana Michigan Power is building a 22,000 kilowatt solar farm on this property in St. Joseph county. (photo courtesy: Wes Mills)

GRANGER, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The University of Notre Dame has committed to purchase clean energy credits, equaling 40% of energy output, from a new solar farm now under construction in St. Joseph county.

Fort Wayne-base Indiana Michigan Power, a subsidiary of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), broke ground last month on a $37 million solar project capable of producing 22,000 kilowatts of power.

I&M says the 200-acre project will be the utility’s largest solar plant, capable of generating enough power for 2,700 homes each year.

“We’re pleased to partner with I&M on this project, and look forward to the benefits it will provide,” said Paul Kempf, assistant vice president for utilities and maintenance at Notre Dame.

Kempf says the solar farm will provide the university with enough clean energy credits to equal 10% of Notre Dame’s total electricity demand.

“This is the next big step for us with regard to the use of clean, renewable solar energy to aid or offset campus power production, and a piece of a larger puzzle in terms of our overall approach to sustainability.”

Construction crews have already cleared the land, which had been used to grow corn and soybeans. They have now started to install posts that will support the 57,000 photovoltaic panels.

Work on the I&M-owned solar farm is expected to be complete in the spring.

Notre Dame has ventured into the solar power arena. The university says it currently maintains three solar arrays on or near campus separate from I&M.