Duke Energy building solar panel farm near Purdue's Discovery Park District

This partnership comes from Duke wanting to provide more efficient energy across the state and Purdue having the space to make it happen.

Posted: Jul 12, 2019 6:22 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Duke Energy is building a solar power plant at Purdue's Discovery Park District.

This partnership comes from Duke wanting to provide more efficient energy across the state and Purdue having the space to make it happen.

Duke is building the solar panel farm for the grid, which means all Duke Energy customers in Tippecanoe County will benefit.

It was a perfect opportunity for Duke and Purdue.

“Duke Energy reached out and they were interested in building a solar farm in Tippecanoe County and we just happened to have some land that had been identified as non- developable within the Discovery Park District,” said Discovery Park District Director Jeremy Slater.

That land is 10-acres that sits to the left of Purdue's Rolls- Royce/AeroSpace building.

“It's kind of some land that has access issues from U.S. 231 and so it made a perfect location for a solar farm within the Discovery Park District,” said Slater.

More than 7,000 panels will be planted at the solar panel farm.

“This should power about 200 homes, 1.6 megawatts, roughly 200 homes for Duke Energy customers,” said Dan Rhodes, community relations manager at Duke Energy.

Although 7,000 solar panels only power about 200 homes, Rhodes said bringing this power plant to Tippecanoe County is still beneficial.

“It's still moving in the direction,” said Rhodes. “It's part of our long-term strategy to produce lower carbon energy and it's moving us in that direction.”

Purdue isn't directly using power from the plant but having it on its land is helping them in other ways.

“There's a very unique opportunity to utilize the asset that Duke's providing for research for students and graduate students and researchers to maybe figure out how to make solar more efficient,” said Slater.

Currently, Duke Energy is powering more than 6,500 homes through its several power plants in the state.

Construction for this one in Tippecanoe County set to be finished this fall.

Duke Energy has a long term goal of powering 270,000 homes in Indiana with solar power energy by 2037.

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