GAS CITY — A solar park is on the docket to be built in Gas City by the Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA).

The 17-acre, 2.5 megawatt, solar park will potentially power more than 200 homes in Gas City, according to Dick Justice, the Electric Department superintendent. The announcement came during the Gas City Board of Works and City Council meetings on Tuesday.

"It's extremely important to invest in renewable energy," Justice said. "We don't know what tomorrow's future might have in store. The administration could change tomorrow and go on a campaign to reduce coal fire plants to zero and not put any more nuclear on the board. It's going to be more and more important to be already invested in renewables."

The solar park project will be funded by IMPA, according to Justice.

As of now, the energy company has reached a tentative deal to purchase 17 acres of land, which is currently a bean field, and is expected to begin construction sometime in May.

The solar park will be located on Ind. 22.

The project came together thanks to an IMPA initiative. 

"IMPA has started investing in renewable energy, and when they started, they wanted to have a diverse portfolio of power, which included solar, wind, as well as coal fire and nuclear," Justice said. "To develop a more renewable energy base, the company wanted to put solar parks in their municipal cities and their municipal towns that they provide power to."

Once the solar park is completed, potentially as early as February 2020, the company will then sell the power to Gas City.

"It's something that the city is not going to suffer the expense of, but can enjoy the rewards of," he added.

According to Justice, most of the hurdles have been jumped for the project to begin.

Justice added that the solar park may even provide an economic incentive to encourage future residents to move in.

"It's a beautiful economic tool for development, because if I have a millennial that comes into town and sees we're invested in renewables, they'll (know we) are thinking about the future," Justice said.

Mayor Larry Leach is also a big fan of the solar park.

"This is going to be a big plus for us," he said. "I feel this is going to be a major thing for the city."

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