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Unused airport land may take flight as a solar farm

A 75-acre solar farm may be built near Fort Wayne International Airport in the next few years if the company’s proposal meets certain conditions outlined by the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority board.

Authority board members agreed Monday to a letter of intent for Telamon Corp., which included provisions that must be met within the next two years before a long-term leasing agreement would become effective.

The company would install solar panels at two locations near the airport – 5605 Dalman Road, Fort Wayne, and 13615 Coverdale Road, Yoder.

Solar panels are devices that convert light into electricity by harnessing the powerful source of light from the sun.

Neither parcel of land is needed for airport use, Airport Authority Executive Director Scott Hinderman said.

“They will have to work with the Federal Aviation Administration and make sure there are no dangers, including glare, to air traffic,” Hinderman said.

The last solar farm Telamon built was in Indianapolis near its airport, Hinderman said.

Last year, Telamon and Johnson Melloh Solutions partnered with the Indianapolis Airport Authority, the city of Indianapolis, General Energy Solutions and Indianapolis Power & Light Co. to build the largest solar farm on airport real estate in North America, according to the company’s website.

While Telamon works to meet the requirements of the non-binding agreement, there are no lease payments and no real use of the land, Hinderman said.

“The airport will continue to lease the land for farming purposes (during the next two years),” he said.

According to the terms, Telamon must:

•Seek all required permits, licenses and have approval from the FAA and the Indiana Utility Regulation Commission

•Finance the proposal and pay related fees and expenses

•Execute agreements for power purchase and interconnection and contract solar renewable energy credits with AEP and/or REMC for the renewable energy produced by the solar farm

•Make the best efforts to use Allen County labor to install the solar panels

•Receive a binding agreement from a third-party buyer to purchase the solar farm from Telamon after the farm is in service.

In other airport business, beginning April 1, customers using the parking services will be able to scan a mobile app from a hand-held device or smartphone upon entering and exiting the lots, and charges will be paid electronically from the patron’s account or credit card.

Although credit cards and cash will continue to be accepted forms of payment, the app streamlines the process and can be scanned electronically, instantly calculating charges and receiving payment with no attendant necessary.

vsade@jg.net

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