The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local Business

November 6, 2013

Frankton absorbs new energy

New solar park coming to town

FRANKTON, Ind. — A power company will receive the green light for construction on a solar park in Frankton after a vote by the Town Council next Tuesday.

The Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA) approached town officials about building a solar park a few months ago. Jack Brown, Frankton's clerk/treasurer, said there has been very little opposition to the measure from residents.

Brown said part of the reason there have been no complaints is that solar parks generally have a very low impact on residential areas. The access road for the plant will be off of Lafayette Road.

IMPA and the city hosted an open house on Monday to answer residents' questions about the new power plant, including how much of an impact people will notice.

Mike Malguarnera, a generation engineer with IMPA, handed out a flier at the meeting that helped put some issues to rest. He said the panels will not be taller than six feet and noise will be at a minimum compared to other energy plants. Brown said many people were concerned how big the solar panels would be.

Bob Kiehlmeier was one of the residents at the meeting. He lives near Lafayette Road and said he had some questions about the park and its environmental impact. He said he had all his questions answered and is in favor of the park.

"I think it's a great idea," Kiehlmeier said. "It adds power to the grid and it doesn't hurt the footprint of the town. They could have put worse things there."

The park will cover eight acres and will be surrounded by a fence. No concrete will be put down because the solar panel supports will be placed directly in the ground.

The new solar plant will be the first of three IMPA is building in Indiana. The company operates in 59 towns in Indiana and one in Ohio. Malguarnera said they have plans to build more plants but will evaluate them after the first three are built.

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