SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The city of South Bend is seeing growth in its use of solar power with many local organizations and businesses embracing the technology.

The South Bend Tribune (http://bit.ly/2bEoHQ4 ) reports that the Century Center convention center recently installed 90 solar panels on its roof. A half-dozen church congregations and a housing development also have grant money to install solar panels.

“The average person living in South Bend might drive around town and it doesn’t look any different. They don’t see any more solar,” said T.J. Kanczuzewski, president of Inovateus Solar LLC of South Bend. “But for those of us in the trenches on a day-to-day basis, things are happening.”

Kanczuzewski said the amount of solar energy generated nationwide is expected to double that of 2015 by the end of the year.

Indiana ranked near the bottom of the country in solar energy when Inovateus started focusing on solar in 2008. At the time, 90 to 95 percent of Indiana’s energy came from coal.

Kanczuzewski says the state’s coal-fired generation has dropped back to 75 percent since then. New EPA regulations regarding coal emissions, the high costs of upgrading existing coal plants and the lower cost of natural gas all contributed to the drop, but utilities have begun to also consider solar and wind.

“The food chain in the solar industry is growing,” Kanczuzewski said. “Even in Indiana, our research showed that there were 68 solar-related companies at the end of 2015, providing a focus on solar resources.”

Those companies employed 1,300 and produced 114 megawatts of solar energy.


Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com