LANESVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Over 4,000 new panels will soon be installed at a new solar farm in Harrison County. It's an expensive way to generate energy, but officials say it will pay off.
At first glance, many aren't sure what to make of the property in Lanesville, Indiana.
"A lot of people still wonder what it is when they drive by it,” said Darrell Voelker, Economic Development Director of Harrison County. “They thought maybe the poles were for grapes."
This is no winery. It’s a solar farm. But its benefits could be just as sweet.
Hoosier Energy purchased the solar panels, which absorb energy from the sun and will soon feed solar energy into 150 homes through power lines. The cost to get the farm going will be about $2.8 million.
Harrison County officials are fully backing the investment, despite the fact that using coal is a much cheaper energy option.
"But there will have to be changes, because coal causes more pollution. Projects like this that generate a megawatt of power are going to be significant," Voelker said.
It's a much greener alternative for generating power. The panels tilt to follow the sun's movement. But when the sun is down, other energy sources step in to pick up the slack.
"It's part of the mix, having different options," said Bob Geswein, an energy adviser for Harrison Rural Electric Membership Corporation.
The company buys power from Hoosier Energy. Geswein said residents near the farm won't see an immediate increase on their bill, but it could happen over time.
"About ten years ago Hoosier Energy invested in landfill methane gas and put generators there and that was the most expensive when they did it. Today, it's the cheapest energy,” said Geswein. "So who's to say that things won't change and this won't become less expensive than it is today."
It's all about preparing for the future.
"We've got to be more conscious about using coal for power so the fact that Hoosier energy has made this big step is a good thing. Not just for Harrison County but for our entire region,” said Voelker. The Ohio River Valley has trouble with pollution. This will help to avoid some of that."
"This solar farm will be producing energy by the end of November."
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