US Government Invests in Solar Again


The US government is getting ready to invest on six acres of solar panels atop an office building in Indianapolis that will be noted as Indiana’s largest solar power project.

Coming at the end of April, the feds will install 6,152 solar panels on the roof of the Maj. Gen. Emmett J. Bean Federal Center in Indianapolis.  This will generate more than 2 megawatts of electricity an hour; enough solar energy to power about 1,000 homes.

A $35 million federal stimulus grant will fund the project and save near $475,000 a year, over 20 percent, on the Bean Center’s utility bills.  This is a huge savings.

This 1950s-era office building is owned by the GAO and is located at a former U.S. Army base on the northeast side of Indianapolis.  Government Employees process the payroll for U.S. military services at this site and it also houses defense finance and accounting units.

This solar energy array will be connected to a nearby Indianapolis Power & Light Co. substation, allowing any left  over power to be sold and routed onto the electric company’s regional grid.

This 1 million square-foot building’s solar panels will be be the largest installation of its type in Indiana. The project is one of many across the US, benefiting from President Barack Obama’s federal tax breaks and  federal subsidies for solar power.  Government incentives available this year will potentially subsidize up to 60 percent of the investment in new solar power arrays.

The Indianapolis Power & Light Co. has already received 25 proposals from investors, developers and non-profit organizations who want to take advantage of the incentives and create arrays potentially larger than the one at the Bean Center.

This solar power array will not meet all the building’s power needs, but it will create a huge savings and is a valuable investment in technology development.

In addition to generating electricity a portion of these solar panels will provide hot water for the building’s restrooms. Water will be delivered and heated to 120 degrees.

It’s great to see big government invest into renewable energy!