The Mammoth Solar Farm will cover 13,000 acres – almost 1,000 times the size of a football stadium – in Starke and Pulaski counties in the state’s northwestern corner. However, only around 20% of those acres will have solar panels installed.
While the panels will only cover about 2,500 acres, the solar farm will have approximately 2.85 million panels. It will eventually generate 1.3 gigatons of clean energy, enough to power 175,000 homes in Indiana and Illinois.
It is expected to bring in approximately $1.5 billion over the next five years. It will also result in significant financial gains for local landowners as well as the counties of Starke and Pulaski, where the farm will be located. Farmers will receive substantially more money for their land than they would if they farmed it.
The first phase of the three-phase project represents a $475 million investment that will generate 400 megawatts of electricity when it is completed in mid-2023.
“This project will serve Indiana and the Midwest as a whole,” said Nick Cohen, CEO of Doral LLC, the Doral Group’s US-based partner at the groundbreaking ceremony.
“It’s an extremely exhilarating day for Indiana,” Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a statement. “It’s empowering to know that Indiana will continue to play a major role in the global energy sector while also effecting a genuine change in our Hoosier communities.”
Much of the area is covered in forests and marshes, which will all be preserved. There will also be enough of green space for setbacks from property lines and farm ditches, as well as the area between panels.
The project will save every year, approximately one billion gallons of irrigation water by no longer farming the area. Each year, approximately 2,000 tons of carbon emissions from coal will be prevented. There will also be many fewer herbicides and fertilizers used on the property, which can often wash off and harm nearby waterways.
A study presented last month by US President Joe Biden’s administration highlighted steps the country can take to obtain 40% of its electricity from solar power by 2035.
To attain this aim, the report suggests that the United States add 30 gigatonnes of solar capacity per year from now until 2025. Following that, the United States should step up its efforts and install 60 gigatonnes of solar power per year from 2023 to 2035.