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Vectren reaches settlement, seeks approval to build 50-MW Ind. solar farm

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Vectren reaches settlement, seeks approval to build 50-MW Ind. solar farm

Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana has reached an agreement with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor and the Citizens Action Coalition to build a 50-MW solar plant in Spencer County.

The Vectren Corp. subsidiary said in an Oct. 11 news release that the parties filed for approval of the agreement with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Vectren said parties to the agreement worked to create a "customer-friendly" rate mechanism that maximizes available tax incentives associated with solar projects and spreads costs over a 35-year period.

If approved, First Solar Inc. will build the solar plant on 300 acres, consisting of 150,000 solar panels mounted on single-axis tracking system.

In a separate news release, the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, or OUCC, said under the agreement's terms, Vectren will recover project costs at a lower rate than it originally proposed. Under the settlement, the rate would be set at a levelized cost of about 5.5 cents per kWh.

The agreement would also cap what the utility can recover should costs increase for construction, maintenance or operations, according to the OUCC. And should Vectren seek to sell any renewable energy credits from the project, those benefits would pass through to customers as rate credits.

The commission's decision is expected in the first half of 2019 and the project could be up and running by the fall of 2020.