Give Now

Recent Snowfall Disables Indianapolis Solar Panels

The snow that fell in Indianapolis this week is rendering the solar panel farm at the airport useless until the panels are cleared.

All snow, no energy at the Indy Airport Solar Farm

Photo: Alex Dierckman/WFIU News

The panels are covered with snow after the weekend's storm brought around 12 inches to the Indianapolis area.

44,000 solar panels at the Indianapolis International Airport collect enough energy per year to power 1,800 homes, but for the last three days they haven’t collected anything.

Covered with a foot of snow the panels are rendered useless unless the snow is removed.

Partner at Johnson Melloh Solutions, Kurt Schneider says it takes only a thimble-sized hole in the snow for the panel to warm up enough to melt away the rest, but maintenance employees haven’t been sent out to do the work- costing the company thousands in potential revenues from solar energy generation.

“There’s about $8,219 a day,” Schneider said. “That’s how much money you would have if you divide it by 365 days, but in the winter time for four to five months, the expectation only produces one third of the piece where as the other six or seven months produces the other two-thirds so you’re looking at $4,500 a day.”

The Indy Solar Farm is expected to generate $3 million annually. As of Wednesday morning, they’d lost around $12,000 in revenue, but Schneider doesn’t see that as a threat. He says sunny summer days that exceed expected energy generation should make up for the loss.

Alex Dierckman

Alex Dierckman is a reporter and anchor for WFIU/WTIU News and Indiana Newsdesk. She has been with the station since 2012. From Carmel, Indiana, Alex is excited to report and deliver the news in her home state. You can follow her on Twitter @alexdierckman.

View all posts by this author »

  • rpm3145

    Great example of how the weather can shut down an electricity generating asset, something we see everyday like when drought or flood shutdowns a nuclear plant. Or in what’s occurring right now with a large propane shortage in the mid-West due to a draw down of propane inventories. However unlike a shut down nuclear plant, a solar farm is not sitting there producing radioactive waste heat requiring constant cooling and safety oversight. Nor does solar require the millions upon millions dollars such as what is being sunk into rapidly depleting shale gas wells to produce less and less natural gas. With a solar farm, the temperatures rise, the snow melts and and its quietly operating.

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search News

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

Follow us on Twitter

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Recent Transportation Stories

Recent Videos

Find Us on Facebook