• Steve Eberly

Thankful for Solar All Year Round

The sun shines every day: it gives us light, heat and a no-cost source of energy that we can transform to power our farms, homes, businesses and communities across Indiana. That’s why, as we reflect on what we’re thankful for in the last year, we shine a light on the many ways solar is improving the lives of Hoosiers in our rural communities.

I’m thankful that solar projects in Indiana mean sustainable energy for our communities, and a reliable stream of revenue for our farmers and new tax revenue to support our schools and public services. I’m thankful that support for these projects comes from the ground-up: from Hoosiers first.

I’m thankful that great solar projects come from great processes: in dozens of counties across Indiana, I’m thankful that local ordinances, road use plans and drainage plans come together to support new solar projects and help them thrive.

I’m thankful that, large-scale solar brings big benefits for local residents. After several years of process improvements, construction on large solar projects in Indiana are underway; projects that will power tens of thousands of homes. The Mammoth Solar project in Starke and Pulaski Counties, for example, will be the largest solar project in the country and a $1 billion investment. That means local benefits, with local vendors getting $50 million in contracts during construction and more than $10 million for local and regional contracts after completion.

Solar also means tax benefits. I’m thankful that a solar farm in Lake County - Foundry Works Solar Energy Center – means $40 million in new tax revenue after abatement and $63 million in payments to local landowners.

I’m thankful that, in all of these projects, local residents are leading the drive to bring solar to their communities. In Jasper County, residents were the main force in asking their local officials to bring the Dunns Bridge Solar project to their community. When complete, the entire project delivers $59 million in new tax revenue as part of a $1 billion investment.

In Posey County, I’m thankful for the 300-megawatt solar power development being built by CenterPoint Energy. Hoosiers there will also benefit from the investment and new tax revenue typical of these projects.

In Vermillion County, I’m thankful for a solar project to be developed on repurposed land at Vermillion Rise.

I’m thankful for a new elementary school in Warren County, its construction made possible due to growth in assessed valuation from renewable energy projects.

And thanks to economic development agreements, this project also enabled new asphalt road construction - the first new paving in over 40 years in Warren County - that will encourage new residential growth in rural areas - coupled with enhanced access to broadband.

I’m thankful for all these new revenue streams for county government that strengthen and expand services to their taxpayers.

Solar energy supports our Hoosier way of life and our tradition of earning a living from the land. As renewable energy expands across the state, the economic growth that results offers renewed hope in a better future for us all.

And that is truly something to be thankful for.