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5/19/2017 6:19:00 PM
New solar facility at Crane to help power nearby communities

Dominick Jean, Herald-Times

CRANE — The clouds pulled back and revealed the sun shining over a field of solar panels — just in time for the dedication of a 145-acre solar panel facility at Naval Support Activity Crane on Thursday.

Roughly 76,000 solar panels make up the facility on the Eagle View golf course near Crane, which is about 30 miles southwest of Bloomington. Sunlight on the panels will create 17 megawatts of alternating current, which can then be used by both the naval base and the surrounding communities through a Duke Energy substation.

The facility is a joint project between Duke and the U.S. Department of the Navy, said Melody Birmingham-Byrd, the president of Duke Energy Indiana.

“It is an honor to partner with the Department of the Navy,” Birmingham-Byrd said. “The transition to a cleaner energy future is on its way.”

She was joined in making remarks by Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch; Naval Support Activity Crane executive officer Lt. Cmdr. Mike Gorski; and John Kliem, the executive director of the Navy’s Resilient Energy Program Office.

Gorski called the solar panels a monument to the partnership and friendship that exist among the Navy, their energy partners and the state of Indiana.

“This gives us a decisive advantage over those who would do us harm,” Gorski said.

Birmingham-Byrd said the level of power available from the station would be able to cover the energy needs of 7,000 average-sized homes.

Lew Middleton, media relations director for Duke Energy, said the construction took about a year and a half, then after that it was a short process to install and test the panels.

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