Shelby County will host one of the largest solar installations in the Midwest. Ranger Power, headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, will build a $175 million, 199-megawatt solar project in northeastern Shelby County beginning in 2022. When the array is brought online in 2023 it will generate enough power to serve 35,000 households, roughly equivalent to all the homes in Fishers.
Electricity generated by the project will be distributed exclusively through Indianapolis-based Wabash Valley Power Association, a wholesale electric supplier to 19 non-profit electric cooperatives in Indiana. The agreement extends through 2057.
Ranger Power’s announcement is the latest in a series of developments broadening the industry mix in Shelby County. In recent months POET has said it will build a $160 million ethanol plant, and Greenleaf plans a $310 food manufacturing plant.
“Ranger Power is a large economic boost for Shelby County,” said Brian Asher, executive director of Shelby County Development Corp. “It not only adds to our tax base, but it continues to diversify our industry mix outside of existing automotive manufacturing.”
Approximately 1,014 acres of the 1,200 acres of the Ranger Power project are devoted to panels; the balance is for buffer space and other project elements. Ranger has signed 17 lease agreements with private landowners in the county, which adjoins Indianapolis.
“Shelby County has existing grid infrastructure capable of handling a large solar project and is close to Indianapolis, a large load center,” said Ranger CEO Adam Cohen. “We had willing landowners, a local ordinance that allowed for such development, and a project site with very low environmental impact.”
The project is called Speedway Solar, a reference to the Indianapolis 500 racing tradition. It was approved by the Shelby County Council approval in March 2019.
Four-hundred jobs will be created during construction; four will be required to operate the site.
Ranger is developing a total of 3,000 megawatts of utility-scale solar projects in the Midwest. Wabash Valley partnered with Ranger Power on two large arrays in Illinois in 2017.