County solar project complete

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 Hamilton County leaders, including U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, recently celebrated the completion of one of the state’s largest solar panel projects.

The $8 million project that installed 9,346 solar panels at and near the Hamilton County Corrections Campus on Cumberland Road in Noblesville was dedicated Sept. 24.

A portion of the panels were installed on the rooftops of the existing buildings on the campus, and the remainder are on a 3-acre field near the campus, across Ind. 37.

In addition to the solar panels, the county also has converted all lighting to LED, energy-efficient lighting and converted the Hamilton County Jail’s HVAC systems from electric to gas.

“Utilities are the county’s second-highest expense, behind employee salaries and benefits,” County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt said. “This project will save the county $25 million in utility and maintenance costs over the next 25 years.”

The county annually pays $1.6 million in utility bills for county facilities. The solar project is expected to provide enough energy to power 38 percent of the jail complex and 100 percent of the Health Services building.

“This project isn’t about the right now, it’s about our future,” said Steve Wood, superintendent of Hamilton County Buildings and Grounds. “This project will produce enough clean power to avoid greenhouse emissions equivalent to 10 million driven car miles.”

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