INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A powerful new part of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway got the green flag Tuesday, and it might not be what people expect.
“All right, gentlemen start your solar panels,” said Doug Boles, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he cut a ribbon with a big pair of scissors.
It’s a much quieter start than you usually see at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But it puts IMS, with the help of its partners — SunWize Technologies, Blue Renewable Energy and Indianapolis Power and Light — in the farming business.
“We are on the front end of the next technology that is defining what this country is about, and it’s related to the energy,” Boles said.
It’s a solar farm spread out on 60-plus acres of land owned by IMS, just east of the track
“And really couldn’t be used for much because there’s a railroad track and a golf course,” Boles said.
A solar farm turned out to be a perfect fit. There are 40,000 panels taking up 41 acres, generating 9.0 megawatts of power.
“The equivalent of about 2,700 homes will benefit from this power plant,” says David Kaltsis, president of SunWize.
While the power won’t go directly back to the speedway, as an IPL customer, IMS may be among those using the power generated on its solar farm. IMS says it is the largest solar farm at any sporting facility in the world. The surface of the solar panels is two and a half times larger than the surface of the asphalt that covers the 2 1/2 mile oval. It is green technology that has the potential to generate extra money as the speedway works to improve the bottom line.
“So the IMS provides the property. Sunwize and Blue provide the technology that’s related to building this. And then IPL and the utility regulatory commission created the financial infrastructure to make this work. So there is a financial benefit for everybody involved,” Boles said.
The 68 acres where the solar farm sits had been used for storage. It is only a very small part of the approximately 1,000 acres that are owned by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.