Ohio approves two large solar farms

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Hillcrest Solar I, a subdiary of Open Road Renewables, received approval to build a solar farm in Hardin County. Open Road has worked with other energy developers on projects like the Nixon Farms Solar project pictured above, in Howard County, Maryland. (BithEnergy photo)

COLUMBUS — Two of the largest solar projects to date were approved Feb. 15 by the Ohio Power Siting Board.

The board has authorized the construction of solar-powered electric generating facilities in Brown and Hardin counties. The two projects are the first of their kind reviewed by the OPSB and would become the largest solar farms in Ohio once constructed.

Brown County

In Brown County, Hillcrest Solar I, LLC, owned by Blue Planet Renewable Energy, LLC, is authorized to construct the Hillcrest Solar Farm on up to 1,100 privately-owned acres in Green Township, north of Mount Orab.

The project consists of ground-mounted photovoltaic modules, commonly referred to as solar panels, as well as associated support facilities, including access roads, meteorological stations, buried electrical collection lines, and a substation.

When completed, this project will have a generation capacity of approximately 125 megawatts while generating essentially zero noise and zero emissions, according to Douglas Herling, director of business development for Open Road Renewables, Austin, Texas.

Hardin County

In Hardin County, Hardin Solar Energy LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Invenergy Solar Development North America LLC, is authorized to construct the 150 megawatt Hardin Solar Center, able to produce over 325,000 megawatt hours per year.

The solar farm will be built on approximately 1,115 acres of leased land, predominantly agricultural land, in Marion, Roundhead, and McDonald townships.

The project consists of over 601,000 solar modules and associated support facilities, including access roads, meteorological stations, a battery storage area, and buried electrical collection lines to connect the units to a utility substation.

The company has been working in Hardin County on the project for almost 10 years.

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