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Indianapolis Housing Agency creates a solar farm at complex; Future of IPL Rate REP or feed-in tariff in doubt April 16, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Feed-in Tariffs (FiT), Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), IPL Rate REP, Uncategorized.
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Dear Blog Readers:

This is a very nice article but it never mentions once what the program is that is being utilized by the Indianapolis Housing Agency (IHA). They are selling the electricity from the solar photovoltaic panels under a program offered by Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) called Rate REP which is a voluntary feed-in tariff (VFIT).

IPL’s Rate REP became effective on March 30, 2010, as a three-year pilot program approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). The future fate of the program past March 30, 2013, however, is in doubt. The IURC has directed IPL to file a petition to extend and/or expand the pilot program nine (9) months before it expires. That means that IPL will need to file a petition with the IURC by June 30, 2012. Currently it is not clear whether IPL intends to request to extend and expand the program or if IPL will alllow this program to expire.

I urge blog readers to educate themselves about IPL’s Rate REP and to contact the company about extending and expanding the program. Rate REP faced a bit of a hiatus in February 2011 when IPL requested to suspend the program as it was originally approved. A case was filed before the IURC a year ago (Cause No. 44018) in which IPL requested to make a number of significant changes to the program. The IURC issued an order in that case 3/07/2012, however, IPL has still not made a compliance filing implementing the changes approved by the IURC. Why there has been such a delay is anyon’e guess.

Only a handful of projects have been approved thus far under Rate REP. For details see http://wp.me/PMRZi-Hv.

Please join our campaign to extend and expand Rate REP. Email me at Laura.Arnold@indianadg.net to join the Rate REP campaign.

Laura Ann Arnold

Solar panels line the roof of a housing unit at Laurelwood Apartments. The Indianapolis Housing Agency, which owns the complex, expects to earn about $20,000 a year selling the energy created by panels installed on the roofs of eight units.  /  Charlie Nye / The Star

Original article: http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012204120347

Energy created by panels at complex will be sold to IPL under feed-in tariff called Rate REP

7:15 AM, Apr. 12, 2012  |

4 Comment

Written by Bruce C. Smith

A $10 million renovation of the Laurelwood Apartments has included the first urban solar farm in the housing system run by the Indianapolis Housing Agency.

Officials announced Tuesday that 248 solar panels have been attached to the south-facing roofs on eight apartment buildings in the complex.

Covering 4,340 square feet, the array is producing 59 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power several average-size homes. The power is sent to the Indianapolis Power & Light Co. grid.

The housing agency expects to earn about $20,000 a year selling the energy to IPL and plans to use the money for community maintenance and other purposes, said IHA director Rufus “Bud” Myers.

“This is another example of IHA utilizing green technology to both benefit the environment and improve the lives of our residents,” Myers said.

Another IHA housing project, 16 Park, on the Near Northside, opened last year with an innovative roof that features gardens and a water recycling system.

“We hope to show through this program that our communities are contributing partners in making Indianapolis more sustainable — all while generating critical revenue to reinvest in our neighborhoods,” he said.

Laurelwood residents don’t use the solar power directly, and the project didn’t affect their utility costs. But resident Janet Lawrence said the system is a rare feature in public housing.

“It is something that I take pride in. Wherever you live, you want it to be nice. It’s not so much where you live but how you live,” she said.

While solar panels may be installed in other housing agency developments, Lawrence suggested that other green technology might be considered. “Maybe there could be wind turbines at Blackburn Terrace, because they have lots of open space.”

She looked to the roofs of several nearby two-story Laurelwood buildings and noted how the solar panels extend only a few inches above the black shingled surface. From a distance, they’re barely visible.

IPL rejected a flood of solar energy projects proposed last year by out-of-state developers. Instead, it’s been waiting to buy power from local solar array sites such as Laurelwood.

At Laurelwood, the solar farm is a $350,000 portion of the $10 million in renovations that have been made at the complex over several years.

Some of the funding came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a federal program that Rep. Andre Carson, D-Indianapolis, said “is a critical first step toward an all-in energy approach that promotes solar, wind and nuclear energy alongside the resources we are already using.”

He called the Laurelwood solar farm “an inspiring example of Hoosier ingenuity and innovation.”

It also is a public-private partnership. Investors bought federal income tax credits.

Private money from institutional investors — such as banks and insurance company’s looking for green projects to support — was arranged by Indianapolis-based City Real Estate Advisors. CEO Jeffrey A. Whiting said City has arranged nearly $60 million in private investment over several years for agency projects.

Call Star reporter Bruce C. Smith at (317) 444-6081       

Congressman Andre Carson:   

“I joined the Indianapolis Housing Authority (IHA), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), and Johnson Melloh Solutions this week for the unveiling of a brand new Urban Solar Farm at Laurelwood Apartments on Indy’s south side.

This remarkable facility utilizes over 4,000 square feet of solar panels to capture and convert energy into usable power.  IHA is able to sell the energy generated to IPL, creating a new revenue stream with which the organization can strengthen the surrounding community. The project was funded, in part, by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

For many families throughout the 7th District, energy costs are a significant financial burden. We need an all-in approach that promotes renewable resources alongside oil and coal. By increasing our energy profile, we not only step away from our dependence on foreign oil, we lower costs for Hoosier families.

The IHA Urban Solar Farm is a remarkable example of the Hoosier ingenuity and innovation that is leading the way for the rest of the country.”

  

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