Home and business owners in rural Fulton County will have the sun to thank for lower utility costs.
The company behind an advanced solar and energy storage facility says the project will pay for itself and be a valuable educational tool for kids.
The system in Talma is setting a new standard in the area for energy independence.
It is, and beyond that it’s improving the reliability of the energy grid.
“This will be a huge financial benefit for the Fulton County REMC members. Of course the environmental benefit we always say is icing on the cake,” said Jim Straeter, Ag Technologies Inc. founder.
Jim Straeter says the advanced solar and storage facility will save members money on day one.
The Fulton County Rural Electric Membership Corporation is a non-profit that provides energy to nearly 5,000 homes.
Any money saved goes directly back to members of the REMC.
Fulton County REMC CEO Joe Koch says members can expect to save up to 8 million dollars, not including the project paying itself off.
He says Indiana is the perfect place for solar projects.
“Indiana – everybody thinks the sun doesn’t shine that much, but actually in the winter time because its cooler it increases the efficiency of the solar panels.”
Koch says it’s that efficiency along with location that makes Indiana appealing for solar and wind projects.
The extra energy can be sold to Chicago, Cincinnati, and even New York which makes Indiana a powerhouse.
Straeter says the battery storage allows them to reduce blackouts during peak use times.
When fully charged, the two Tesla batteries can power 2,200 homes for a month, which can be the difference between life and death during an ice storm.
“This kind of battery can energize this wire and keep these people safe and warm and that sort of thing.”
This project will be even more environmentally friendly because they plan to grow plants that attract pollinators like honeybees and butterflies.
This story originally appeared on WSBT.com: Fulton County solar energy project expected to lower utility costs | WSBT