On some sunny day late next year, area solar panels will generate more than one-third of the electricity used in Richmond.

By then, eight solar parks will supply power to Richmond Power & Light’s system for consumption by RP&L customers. RP&L General Manager Tony Foster updated the RP&L board about local solar energy during the board’s Aug. 7 meeting.

The Indiana Municipal Power Agency’s sixth solar park in the city and second on Wernle Road came online the first week of August, Foster said. Its 5.33 megawatts boost Richmond’s solar capability to 36.43 megawatts.

With RP&L’s average daily load of 130 megawatts, that means solar can provide 28% of the electricity RP&L customers use on a sunny day. The city’s seventh solar park on Round Barn Road is expected to go online in October with its 4.35 megawatts, and an eighth park, which recently received necessary approvals for its National Road West location, is planned to add another 6.1 megawatts during 2024’s final months.

Those eight parks would generate 46.88 megawatts on sunny days, raising the solar percentage to 36% of RP&L’s average daily load.

Obviously the sun doesn’t always shine, so the overall power percentage solar parks provide RP&L is less, but still significant. During 2022, RP&L sold more than 904 million kilowatt hours of electricity, and of those, more than 58.5 million were generated by solar parks. That’s about 6.5% of the year’s power.

Foster also told the board there are 13 active residential solar systems among RP&L’s customers, with another approved system on hold. Those systems produce less than 10 kilowatts of power. Another four active systems produce more than 10 kilowatts, with three additional systems under consideration.

Solar power information is available under the “Safety & Education” tab at rp-l.com.

Digger derrick

The board awarded a digger derrick truck bid to Altec Industries, which was the only bidder, for $290,115. That price includes the $18,000 trade-in value of a 2012 digger derrick.

Altec expects to deliver the digger derrick during the fourth quarter of 2026. Foster said research has shown that’s the industry standard at this time.

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A version of this article appeared in the August 16 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.