Today, Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives, Inc. (IEA) announced the completion of St. Joseph Solar Farm by its subsidiary, White Construction. In fact, this 215 MW solar farm is located in St. Joseph County, Indiana, and comprises about 58,000 panels, 740 roads, and hundreds of PV panels, enough to power approximately 2,700 homes.
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In fact, the project had the participation of the University of Notre Dame and Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) as founding partners to it. Thus, the University is taking about 40% of the project’s output to support its sustainability initiatives on the campus. Besides, the university has the aim to reduce its carbon footprint through the project significantly.
IEA and its St. Joseph Solar Farm collaborators
In this sense, I&M also collaborated in the project to capitalize on educational opportunities and research benefits. Indeed, the project started in 2019, and construction began in 2020, right before the pandemic hit. Thus, according to the project’s members, it was possible to overcome significant challenges and produce clean energy even with a global pandemic.
St. Joseph Solar Farm will produce enough clean energy to remove 26,000 cars off the road. Thus about 13,000 tons of CO2 won’t be emitted because of the project. “It’s clean, sustainable, and it’s becoming a big part of our portfolio,” said Toby Thomas, Indiana Michigan Power President and COO.
In this regard, Blake Wireman, St. Joseph Solar Farm Project Manager, stressed how integrated the I&M, White Construction, and the University of Notre Dame teams worked together. “It was like playing a videogame, like on the screen. Operators basically lining up to the target, to where the pile goes, and then drive it.”
Working fast, against all odds
The project counted with the support of almost 18-feet-long piles. According to Rory Rossini, the project’s electrical construction manager, IEA White Construction has similar projects under development in Texas and Georgia.
“They don’t have the frosty that we have to worry about, so our piles are a lot heavier and longer. So, you’ve got all those extra piles to drive in the ground. Considering all those facts, we did some swift times,” added Rossini.
Moreover, work on the project was considerably fast. “We were usually doing over 200 to 300 per machine per day, so they were making a (PV) post every 30 seconds, I think. I believe that in IEA White Construction we were delighted with that progress,” continued Mr. Rossini.
On May 6th, during an unveiling ceremony, AEP, I&M, and University of Notre Dame representatives, and Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch “flipped the switch” on the new 20-megawatt solar farm.