Fort Wayne’s first solar farm could be coming to the southeast side

Use of solar panels will keep energy costs down for residents of a new Fort Wayne apartment complex. (AP photo)
The $13 million Posterity Scholar House project is under construction on the former site of the McMillen Park Apartments (Photo by Kevin Leininger of The News-Sentinel.com_
Bryan McMillan

Four years ago, Carmel-based Telamon Corp. said it was considering installing a solar-energy farm on as many as 85 acres near Fort Wayne International Airport. That never happened, but the city may finally be getting its first large solar facility — if on a much smaller scale.

Black and White Investments LLC has asked the Fort Wayne Board of Zoning Appeals for permission to locate a ground-mounted solar array on about three acres included in the Posterity Heights project under construction near South Anthony Boulevard and McKinnie Ave. Although individual homes are equipped with solar panels and a few are located at the General Motors truck plant, the project in southeast Fort Wayne would be the city’s largest solar project to date “by quite a bit,” according to Senior Planner Bryan McMillan. Local zoning codes require a special-use approval for ground-mounted solar panels, he said.

The $42 million Posterity Heights is the largest project undertaken in southeast Fort Wayne in years. When ground was broken on its $13 million phase 1 last September, the Posterity Scholar House, it was announced that the 44-unit apartment complex would help single-parent residents pursue higher education and make electric vehicles available. It was also announced that the project would help reduce residents’ costs by reducing electric expenses through the use of solar energy, although no details were provided at the time.

“I thought we might have had more (solar arrays) by now,” McMillan said.

According to the BZA application, the project is affiliated with the state’s Moving Forward initiative that “seeks to redefine the meaning of affordable housing via leveraging integrated living and clean technology.” BWI has analyzed the glare that might be created by the array and officials at Fort Wayne International have concluded it will not interfere with air traffic. A six-foot privacy fence will be erected around three sides of the array.

The project is the first of six statewide planned under the program launched in 2015 by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority and Energy Systems Network. Phase two will be a $10 million, 14,000-square-foot training center and commercial development called Posterity Place. In addition to a business incubator, tenants will include Lutheran Health Network, a My Market grocery and other shops.

The final two phases would include income-controlled rent-to-own single-family homes in Posterity Village and market-rate homes in Posterity Point selling for about $125,000. The entire project is expected to take about three years to complete.

The BZA could consider the project next month.

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