On September 29, 2021 LMU started receiving energy from the new 16-megawatt-AC solar array installation, located west of Holland Street, between Market Street and Water Street, across from Cole Hardwood.
It was constructed by South Bend-based Inovateus Solar and financed by Alchemy Renewable Energy with a power purchase agreement (PPA.) This allows LMU to purchase the clean, solar generation at a fixed kilowatt-hour rate without upfront capital costs.
A 45-foot vegetation buffer surrounds the solar array. The buffer will feature native Northern Indiana trees, plants, and tulip trees. A pollinator seed mix has been planted under and around the solar panels instead of traditional ground cover. The pollinator mix will cultivate honeybees and butterflies that local farmers rely on for pollinating their crops. The pollination field will be monitored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s InSPIRE study for five years. The group is researching pollinator-friendly and low-impact solar development to quantify the ecosystem and agricultural benefits. Inovateus will be responsible for the maintenance and operations of the solar field.