Letter: Planned Swallowtail Solar Farm will benefit our area

From: David Wildemann


I am writing in support of the Arevon Swallowtail Solar Farm project. As a source of local renewable energy, the proposed solar project will generate 200 megawatts of electricity to power homes and businesses. The power generated will feed into the local grid via existing transmission lines. The electricity will then flow to supply the closest needs first. That means it will supply Columbus and Bartholomew County before any excess generation is used by surrounding communities. As a local source of renewable electricity, it also supports the five pillars of the Indiana energy policy: reliability, resilience, stability, affordability, and environmental sustainability.

The site will be planted with native wildflowers, low-lying grasses, plants and shrubs creating more than 1,000 acres of habitat that is suited to the local environment. These plants will create new habitat for birds, bees, and other insects and animals. Included will be host plants such as common milkweed for monarch butterflies. The native vegetation, with deep roots, is also better at absorbing rain, anchoring soil, and preventing erosion.

The project supports landowners willing to lease their property to create and diversify their income. At the end of the lease, the solar equipment will be removed and the site returned to its prior use. This contrasts with the permanent loss of agricultural land that is converted to industrial sites, warehouses, and housing developments. A solar site also does not have the traffic and noise that can accompany industrial sites and warehouses.

Economic benefits include jobs created for construction and operations, tax revenue, and community investments. Even before the project is approved and started, Arevon demonstrated a commitment to invest in the community by pledging $30,000 to area organizations.

With all these benefits to our local community, this project is worthy of our support.

Additional information about solar and renewable energy in the form of Frequently Asked Questions is available from the Indiana Office of Energy Development at https://www.in.gov/oed/files/Good-Questions-FAQ_3pgr_LCRE.pdf.