Indiana installed the most megawatts of solar in the state’s history last year, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Though the numbers for last year are still rolling in, Indiana is projected to have installed more than 140 megawatts — mostly as a result of large, utility-scale projects.
SEIA’s Vice President of State Affairs Sean Gallagher says Indiana is likely to see more of these big projects. Ranger Power and Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative have both proposed roughly 200 megawatt solar farms.
Gallagher says the price of solar in the U.S. has dropped by about 70 percent over the last six years — making it more attractive to conservative states like Indiana.
“California is the leader in solar by far and has been for a long time, but the number two and three states are I believe Arizona and North Carolina,” he says.
Laura Ann Arnold is the president of the Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance. She says solar is becoming more affordable for Indiana utilities like NIPSCO — which recently announced plans to retire its coal plants and become mostly wind and solar powered.
“Let the marketplace tell us what is the least cost and most affordable option for our customers,” Arnold says.
Indiana also saw an increase in non-residential solar — like panels on local government and school buildings.
Residential solar didn’t change much in 2018. Arnold says that’s likely because few Hoosiers know they can install solar panels before July 2022 and still get the retail rate for net metering.
Indiana has installed more megawatts of solar than its neighboring states.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.