GREENSBURG — The Decatur County REMC, Southeastern Indiana REMC and Hoosier Energy wouldn’t let the cloudy Thursday afternoon prevent them from celebrating their cooperative solar field dedication.

The Decatur County REMC and Southeastern Indiana REMC partnered with Hoosier Energy for the project.

And as the tagline for the event says, they’re tapping into the power of the sun.

Located just off N. County Road 120 E, sits an array of 3,888 solar panels, according to renewable energy project developer Josh Cisney of Hoosier Energy. Cisney also said that it took approximately three months to construct.

For those that may not be familiar with how these solar panels work, Hoosier Energy explains that when light hits certain materials, such as the photovoltaic cells in a solar panel, that energy turns into an electrical current. Furthermore, an inverter then converts the direct current electricity into alternating current electricity, which is largely used for powering homes, businesses and farms.

According to Hoosier Energy, solar benefits include abundant, scalable and flexible, with unique attributes that benefit cooperative communities, balancing the need for affordable electricity through an all-of-the-above generation portfolio, building on community partnerships, and more.

The panels have a projected lifespan of 25 years, the array has 18 converters to convert direct current electricity into alternating current electricity, and can produce 2 million kWh (kilowatt hours) per year, enough to power approximately 150 houses.

“The thing I enjoy most about these projects is the fact that these are cooperative projects, and that this is literally owned by the members that live in this community – the members of the Decatur County REMC and Southeastern Indiana REMC,” Cisney said.

The project developer also indicated that this could potentially help with the growth of solar energy initiatives.

“This project allows us to not only produce this renewable energy, but also allows us to gain that experience as a cooperative,” said Cisney. “Five years ago, we didn’t know anything about solar energy, and now we have 15 people in this area that are experts at renewable energy.”

Brett Abplanalp, chief executive officer of the Decatur County REMC, spoke about Thursday’s turnout.

“I think it’s awesome to see everybody come together,” Abplanalp said. “This is the tenth piece of solar’s big initiative as far as putting in renewable energy. I think it’s great for the community that we were offered this opportunity for them do it here in the community. It shows the economic growth potential. You know, we have I-74 where many people come through and to see this as a sign that our cooperative is looking at renewables and I think it’s great that we have a power supplier like Hoosier (Energy) that recognizes the need to diversify their portfolio of generation.”

Abplanalp also referenced the possibility of solar energy bringing people to Decatur County, and if that is one of their goals.

“Definitely,” he said. “That’s all about the economic development piece of it, so we hope people see it and understand our values and come visit us.”

Contact: Joshua Heath, 812-663-3111 x7401; joshua.heath@greensburgdailynews.com

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