MUNCIE— The effort to place a solar field on acres of concrete where a General Motors transmission plant stood for generations has gone before the Muncie City Council. Some people from the Thomas Park/Avondale Neighborhood showed at the meeting last Monday with serious questions about the project.

The solar array would cover 53 acres above contaminated ground where the former factory stood, with more than 16,000 solar panels initially producing as much as 8,760 kWh of electricity its first year. The power would be sold to American Electric Power, the parent company of Indiana Michigan Power, according to Ryan Stout, solar developer with Performance Services, based in Indianapolis.

Mayor Dan Ridenour's administration is seeking approval from council to spend $11.5 million to create the solar field in a lease agreement with GM Development based in Springport. The company is not affiliated with General Motors.

Greg Martz, managing partner in GM, said the agreement with the city would provide that the twice-yearly payments by the city would always be about $30,000 less than the annual revenue the city would receive from AEP for the power supplied to the utility, in order to make sure the development would pay for itself. The life of the solar field is expect to be about 30 years.

For subscribers:Solar vs. grain: Farm feud in Washington Township roils community, ends friendships

The remaining revenue produced from the solar field would flow to Muncie's general fund, said Mayor Dan Ridenour.

Copyright ©2022 The Star Press