MERRILLVILLE | Construction of a facility to generate solar energy is progressing on schedule.
Other than weather-related issues, installing 6,800 solar panels in the 8500 block of Grand Boulevard has gone "pretty smoothly," said Chris Little, of Ecos Energy.
Little said the site could be operational within the next 30 days.
Once finished, solar power produced at the Ecos Energy facility will be sold to NIPSCO, Little said.
The company will receive 26 cents per kilowatt hour through a 15-year agreement it established with NIPSCO, according to the utility.
Town Council President Shawn Pettit said he never expected a solar energy facility the size of the Ecos Energy project would locate in Merrillville until he heard the proposal from the company.
"It's a pleasant surprise," Pettit said.
He said some buildings in Merrillville have environmentally friendly features, but he hopes the town can attract more green technology projects.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 697 building at 7200 Mississippi St. was built with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, Pettit said.
In August, 100 solar panels were installed on the grounds of Merrillville High School.
Merrillville's Town Hall received solar panels in 2009, and environmentally friendly features are expected to be incorporated into the administration and educational center for the town's Stormwater Utility. Construction at 7404 Broadway could begin in the spring.