COLUMBUS — AEP Ohio has entered into a participation agreement with Turning Point Solar LLC, a joint venture of Agile Energy Inc. and New Harvest Ventures, to develop one of the largest solar generating facility east of the Mississippi River.
The 49.9-megawatt (MW) commercial solar facility will be built on approximately 750 acres of reclaimed land once mined for coal in Noble County, 20 miles southeast of Zanesville, Ohio.
Construction and commercial operation of the facility will be phased in over three years with construction expected to begin in the summer of 2012.
According to Glen Davis, CEO of Agile Energy of San Francisco, one of the co-developers of the project, more than 600 direct jobs will be created, including approximately 300 during the construction and installation phase of the project.
Isofoton, a leading Spanish-based solar energy technology company, will supply solar modules for the Turning Point Solar development.
As part of the project moving forward, the company has agreed to base its North American manufacturing facility in Ohio, and projects the facility will employ up to 330 when fully operational.
Approximately 250,000 photovoltaic panels will be needed to build the plant.
AEP Ohio has said it intends to invest $20 million in the development of the project.
The project was filed with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio for approval on July 1, as part of the company’s Electric Security Plan.
Once built, AEP Ohio will be solely responsible for the operation and maintenance of the solar generating facility.
Ohio Substitute Senate Bill 221 requires that AEP Ohio supply 0.06 percent of its load in 2012 with generation from solar resources, 0.09 percent in 2013, and 0.12 percent in 2014. The benchmark requirements ramp up annually to a total of 0.5 percent by the end of 2024.
AEP Ohio already has met the benchmarks set for 2010 and 2011 through its long-term purchase power agreement for solar energy from the 10.08-MW Wyandot Solar facility in Upper Sandusky, Ohio.
AEP Ohio provides electricity to nearly 1.5 million customers of major AEP subsidiaries Columbus Southern Power Company and Ohio Power Company in Ohio, and Wheeling Power Company in the northern panhandle of West Virginia.