Inovateus Solar is developing a landmark solar project for the people of Logansport, Indiana. For over 120 years, the city has relied on a Logansport Municipal Utility (LMU) coal-fired power plant that was recently retired. With the support and vision of the City of Logansport,Â this will be the first-ever solar power plant in the region, but there is much more to the project than just solar.
In addition to the 80-acre 16 MWac solar installation, Inovateus is further helping the community by designing a solar education program to engage schools in the Logansport Community School Corporation and launching a college scholarship contest for naming the solar park. To help maintain the neighborhood around the solar park, Inovateus designed a 45-foot vegetation buffer around the solar array. The buffer will feature native Northern Indiana trees, plants, and more than 100 tulip trees donated by the community.
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â€śInovateus is excited to be working with Alchemy to develop LMUâ€™s first solar energy installation for the citizens and businesses of Logansport,â€ť said Jordan Richardson, Inovateus Solarâ€™s business development manager. â€śWe want to thank the City of Logansport, LMU, the Logansport Utility Service Board, Alchemy, Cass County, and all the residents who helped us to design a solar system that will create local jobs and enhance the cityâ€™s natural habitats.â€ť
The 30-year PPA, financed by Alchemy Renewable Energy, allows LMU to purchase the clean solar generation at a fixed kilowatt-hour rate with no upfront capital costs. The contract also includes options for LMU to buy the solar energy system at a future date. The prohect will stabilize energy costs for LMUâ€™s customers, and also host a bee and butterfly habitat that will benefit agriculture in the surrounding area.
After construction is completed Q1 of 2021, Inovateus has partnered with Fresh Energy and the Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund to plant a pollinator seed mix under and around the solar panels instead of traditional ground cover. Planting a pollinator mix will cultivate honeybees and butterflies that local farmers rely on for pollinating their crops. The National Renewable Energy Laboratoryâ€™s InSPIRE study is actively studying pollinator-friendly and low-impact solar development approaches to quantify the ecosystem and agricultural benefits.
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â€śIndiana is home to vibrant agricultural sectors â€” tomatoes in the north and melons in the south â€” that depend on the health and abundance of beneficial insects and pollinators,â€ť said Rob Davis, Director of the Center for Pollinators in Energy at Fresh Energy. â€śLogansportâ€™s new solar project by Inovateus shows that communities can choose PV solar designs that concurrently benefit agriculture and ecosystems.â€ť
â€śWe call that a winning collaborationâ€ť said Pete Berthelsen, partnership director of The Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund who also partnered with Inovateus to provide the seeding mix.
To commemorate the pollinator-friendly ground cover that will eventually be planted under the solar array, The City of Logansport is intending to recognize a day in June as Bird & Pollinator-Friendly Solar Day.