INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WANE) Indiana could see a boost in solar energy projects thanks to the Indiana Association for Community Economic Development (IACED). IACED received $400,000 from a settlement that will invest $2.5 million to improve air quality in Indiana through various projects.
IACED is starting a grant program called Solar Uniting Neighbors (SUN) that will add new solar energy projects in communities who are serviced by Indiana Michigan Power.
IACED plans to use the money to fund technical and financial assistance for small solar energy projects that are less than 0.5 megawatts. The program would fund about 10 to 17 installations depending on how large the grant is. IACED said the grants could likely range from $20,000 to $30,000.
“Solar and other types of renewable energy are a strategy for community sustainability and resiliency,” IACED Executive Director Andy Fraizer said. “This program will provide resources for local organizations, remove barriers and teach neighborhoods and communities across the state about the benefits of solar energy projects.”
The funds for the project came under a legal settlement between American Electric Power, I&M’s parent company, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, eight states, and 13 citizens’ groups. The settlement included the $2.5 million for AEP to invest in air quality projects.
IACED will work with the firm of Sustainable Catalyst Partners to create and administer SUN. The company listed these specific goals SUN:
- Remove cost barriers to the acquisition and installation of solar photovoltaics
- Lower energy costs for transformative community economic development projects
- Generate cost cutting energy credits for surplus electricity production
- Leverage investments in solar panels by project sponsors in the I&M service area
- Build capacity for solar energy in the I&M service area communities
According to the press release: IACED is the state’s leading community economic development organization that supports a network of groups and efforts to build vital communities and resilient families throughout Indiana. It advocates for public policies and assists members and community partners in developing solutions that engage local leaders in rebuilding Indiana communities.