Proposed 108-MW Licking County solar field would power Amazon, Google, Facebook

Union Ridge Solar announced plans to construct a 500-acre solar field in Licking County near the American Electric Power (AEP) Kirk substation, a development that could power large data centers and “provide a financial windfall for property tax recipients,” The Columbus Dispatch reports. Union Ridge “would pay a flat fee of [at] least $753,000 annually for 30 years, or $22.6 million, if the project receives the state and local approvals for the Qualified Energy Tax Exemption Program,” according to the article. Licking County Commissioner Tim Bubb said, “Facebook, Amazon and Google all want to buy green energy from the grid,” and that county commissioners are “inclined to be positive toward this potential opportunity.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, Renewable Energy, Solar, State Updates

Toledo Solar wins $1.7M federal grant for new solar technology development

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office awarded a $1.7 million grant to Toledo Solar to support its development of semitransparent cadmium telluride photovoltaics, “a solar-cell material that could be suitable for use in windows, building facades, and rooftop solar modules,” The Toledo Blade reports. U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) recently announced the grant. In her statement, Kaptur said the new solar technology “offers potential for boosting solar production within the United States,” according to the article. The majority of silicon-based solar panels, “the predominant current technology for large-scale uses,” is produced in Asia. For more, read the full article.  

Renewable Energy, Solar, State Updates

New Franklin County solar farm will supply energy to AEP

American Electric Power affiliate AEP Energy Partners “is finalizing a long-term power purchase agreement [PPA] with New York-based BQ Energy Development LLC for 100% of the 50 megawatts of power that will be generated at the new solar farm it is building at the former Model Landfill site,” Columbus Business First reports. The solar farm will generate enough energy to power 5,000 homes, which AEP Energy will use to meet “both customer demand for renewable energy and future renewable energy needs” from Columbus’s recently passed citywide electric aggregation program proposal, according to the article. Greg Hall, president of AEP Energy, called converting the former landfill to a solar facility a “win-win for the environment and Central Ohio.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, Solar, State Updates

Hillsboro farm goes solar with 60-panel rooftop installation

The Rhoads family farm east of Hillsboro is harvesting sunlight to power farm operations, including two houses and a barn, through 60 rooftop solar panels installed on the barn, The Highland County Press reports. Rich Rhoads said the family worked with a company that finances the system for 20 years and also help clients increase energy efficiency through attic insulation, attic solar fans, water-heater insulation and LED light bulbs, according to the article. Rhoads “also pointed out that the federal government offers a tax credit for homeowners switching to solar energy, to help offset some of the costs.” Rhoads said the family believes helping the environment and potentially saving money in the long term is a “win-win.” For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Financial Incentives, Renewable Energy, Solar

AEP signs PPA for planned 200-MW Pickaway County solar project

A planned 600,000 solar panel project that will generate 200 megawatts (MW) of output in Pickaway County when complete has a signed long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) from AEP Energy Partners, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, MarketWatch reports. Atlanta Farms Solar Project will contribute renewable energy to the City of Columbus’s aggregation program that was approved on the November 2020 ballot, according to the article. Greg Hall, AEP Energy president, said, “AEP Energy is focused on providing customers with integrated, carbon-free energy supplies that deliver long-term price stability and environmental benefits.” 

Renewable Energy, Solar, State Updates

FERC ruling reverses 40 years of PURPA precedent in defining small solar

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently issued an order that reverses “40 years of precedent under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA)” determining how a small power producer is defined, Utility Dive reports. In the ruling, FERC “denied qualifying facility (QF) status to a facility in Montana with a net capacity of 80 MW of solar power . . . asserting that because its gross capacity is 160 MW, it does not meet the legal threshold for a QF,” according to the article. That facility, Broadview, updated its filing in 2019 “to reflect the addition of panels that allow it to have 160 MW of gross capacity”; the developer “argues that because its 160 MW solar, 50 MW battery facility connects directly to direct-current-to-alternating-current inverters, the maximum net capacity of the facility is still 80 MW.” For more, read the full article.

Federal Updates, Renewable Energy, Solar

Ohio could benefit from more utility-scale solar projects, trade group says

The recently formed Utility Scale Solar Energy Coalition (USSEC) “sees great potential for Ohio to build many more utility-scale solar energy projects” that could bring economic growth, jobs and diversification to the state, The Toledo Blade reports. The organization issued a report saying “it sees a market for 54,113 one-time construction jobs and 618 annual operations and maintenance jobs” from such projects, defined as generating 50 megawatts (MW) or greater, according to the article. Jason Rafeld, USSEC executive director, said, “Ohio is undergoing a major energy transition,” with nine coal-fired power plants closing in the past decade and the cost of solar decreasing 70 percent during that same period, while corporations “are demanding more utility-scale solar energy.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Renewable Energy, Solar, State Updates

Toledo Solar awarded $200K DOE research grant

Perrysburg-based Toledo Solar recently won a $200,000 Phase I U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant, The Toledo Blade reports. The grant will fund “extended testing of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules with glass-enameled steel backs instead of the existing glass sheet used to encapsulate the panel,” according to the article. The design, if successful, “will make the panels lighter and rooftop installations quicker,” lowering prices for installers and individual customers. If the panels are commercially viable, “they will help Toledo Solar to compete with Chinese-made silicon panels that do not work as well in hot climates” such as the American Southwest. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, Solar, State Updates

Beavercreek officials discuss adding guidelines for commercial solar farms

Property owners in Beavercreek are permitted “to install and use solar panels for their own personal use,” but the city’s zoning code does not currently include guidelines for commercial solar farms, the Dayton Daily News reports. City officials realized the city’s code did not contain regulations for commercial solar projects after a real estate agent inquired whether a solar farm would be permitted on a property, according to the article. Beavercreek City Council is considering new language to be added to the city code outlining commercial solar farm requirements for projects under 50 megawatts (MW). Any solar installations of 50 MW or more fall under the authority of the Ohio Power Siting Board. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, Solar, State Updates

$1B Gemini Solar Project will be largest solar project in U.S. history

The Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved a proposal to construct and operate a 690-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar energy facility about 30 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, greenlodgingnews.com reports. The estimated $1 billion Gemini Solar Project “could be the eighth-largest solar power facility in the world when finished and is expected to generate enough electricity to power 260,000 homes in the Las Vegas area and potential energy markets in Southern California,” according to the article. Project construction “is anticipated to average 500 to 700 construction workers” at a time, “supporting up to an additional 1,100 jobs in the local community and injecting an estimated $712.5 million into the economy in wages and total output during construction.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Federal Updates, Renewable Energy, Solar
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