INDIANAPOLIS - Officials have marked the completion of a solar energy farm that covers nearly 75 acres at Indianapolis International Airport.
The ceremony was held Friday at the site next to the Interstate 70 exit to the airport's passenger terminal.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said the project was a sign of the city taking a national leadership role in promoting alternative energy.
The solar farm cost about $40 million. It contains more than 44,000 energy-generating panels that will produce more than 16 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year, enough to power more than 1,800 average-size American homes.
Ballard said arriving travelers flying over the farm will see immediately that Indianapolis is an innovative, energetic city. He said the 75-acre project will benefit the airport and taxpayers by making land that couldn't be used for anything else and making it productive.
"They're taking land that is otherwise undevelopable. They're making it work. The airport's getting a little bit of money. Not a bad thing. And we're moving energy forward in a way that maybe Indianapolis wasn't thinking like that eight (or) ten years ago," Ballard said.
The solar farm is a joint project of the city and three energy development partners. The electricity it produces will not be used to power the airport, but will go directly onto the Indianapolis Power & Light grid.
IPL President Kelly Huntington says the airport solar farm will help the utility reach its goal of having wind and solar sources make up 10 percent of its electricity by 2017.
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