Indiana Michigan Power announced plans Thursday to build five solar energy facilities, and two are slated for St. Joseph County.

Besides the two in St. Joseph County, which could be built this year, a third plant will be Watervliet. Another will be built in Marion, and a fifth will be constructed at an undetermined location, according to a release issued Thursday by I&M, an operating unit of American Electric Power.

One local plant with a capacity of 2.6 megawatts will be built northeast of McKinley and Capital avenues near the Twin Branch dam where I&M already operates a hydroelectric plant; a second 5 megawatt plant will be built just east of New Carlisle, near U.S. 20.

The five facilities will have a combined capacity of nearly 16 megawatts and will cost $38 million to build. The overall impact on customer rates is expected to be about 0.03 percent, the company said, adding that an exact figure won’t be known until the projects are completed.

The four solar plants that have been pinpointed are owned by I&M near existing and future substations to minimize the cost of delivering the energy to the transmission grid, company stated.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission recently approved the building of the five solar facilities.

Tracy Warner, a spokeswoman with Indiana Michigan Power, said construction is expected to begin on the Twin Branch facility in Mishawaka sometime this year. It should be producing power by the end of 2016.

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