Oak Run Solar Project Reaches Public Hearing

Solar Farm Summit joined by Environmental Advocates, Labor Unions and Local Stakeholders to Highlight Benefits of Solar Projects in Ohio
By: Solar Farm Summit LLC
PLAIN CITY, Ohio - April 11, 2023 - PRLog -- Over two months ago, PV magazine reported over 200 public comments regarding a proposed 800MW solar project in west central Ohio near London, known as the Oak Run Solar Project. Today, at Jonathan Alder High School in Plain City, the OPSB conducted its public hearing on the project where supporters held a pre-hearing press conference and agrivoltaics expo that labeled the historic project a flagship opportunity in the arena of "agrivoltaics," which combines farming and solar power on the same plot of land, also known as "dual use" solar.

Following North America's recent inaugural agrivoltaics development conference, the Solar Farm Summit decided to take the show on the road. Ultimately, Oak Run Solar would be Ohio's largest solar project and project developer (Savion) is already working with The Ohio State University on a commitment to agrivoltaics research that is poised to alter the economic, energy and agricultural trajectory for solar projects in Ohio and nationwide. Highlighting the immense bundle of community benefits the Oak Run Solar Project would bring, speakers lauded the opportunity for Ohio to anchor its historic agro-business corridor with a landmark utility-scale dual use solar farm able to drive global innovation in agriculture far into the future.

"We're thrilled to take this 'solar power plus agricultural production' renaissance on the road and to have Madison County, Ohio as our first stop," said Dan French, Executive Producer at Solar Farm Summit. "With so much positive feedback and forward momentum from the first conference, we felt called to continue spreading the good news by carrying the banner into the field where the best work is being done."

French was joined by environmental advocates, leading labor unions, agriculture champions, local stakeholders and residents in support of the many community benefits the solar project will bring, reinforcing the OPSB Staff's approval recommendation (27 March) that explained how this project will indeed serve the public interest by generating a compelling stack of significant economic, environmental, and agricultural benefit beyond the renewable energy built into a standard single-use solar farm.

Speakers detailed how the project will deliver reliable, sustained tax revenue benefiting Madison County, host townships, local school districts, and the broader community, including an estimated $8.24 million in new tax revenue every year over its expected 35-year operating life (over $288 million total). The funding will be allocated to three local school districts, the county, first responders, health services, local libraries, three separate townships, senior services, and veterans' relief.

Paul Gross, former county commissioner and local county entrepreneur encouraged the local community to "keep an open mind to the new and unknown." "We're farming the ground, we're getting electric off the ground," he continued, "that's every farmer's dream."

Labor union leaders focused on the hundreds of local construction jobs the project would create over a several year construction window. "Our members dedicate their entire careers to performing this type of work and I have seen firsthand the benefits that projects like these bring to the local communities that host them," said Patrick Hook, IBEW Local 683 Business Manager. "Members of IBEW 683 are excited to have opportunities to work close to home, allowing them to return to their families for dinner after a hard day's work."

Environmental Advocates highlighted recently passed federal legislation that are helping spur private investment in environmentally conscious projects like Oak Run Solar. "The Inflation Reduction Act is delivering incredible benefits to Ohioans in the form of investment and jobs. It's a bold plan that requires all hands on deck, working together," said Dan Sawmiller, Ohio Energy Policy Director at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). "Implementing the law is bringing labor unions together with industry while combining economic development with environmental progress."

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce emphasized the over billion dollars of private investment into domestic energy production solar project developers are bringing to the state. He reminded the audience of the 300MW of proposed battery storage and noted the Chamber's all of the above approach to energy production. "This facility will enable businesses and consumers to have greater choices for their energy needs and ensure safe, reliable, and affordable energy sources here in the Buckeye State," said Rick Carfagna, Policy Director for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. "The Ohio Chamber welcomes these private investments into our rural communities that are driving Ohio's energy independence."

Public comment continued throughout the evening at the Ohio Power Siting Board's public hearing with voices of support from Madison County and all over the state. "It's beyond inspiring to see this ultra-productive land use renaissance on the cusp of breaking out," continued French. "With such locally empowering agrivoltaic projects now taking form, the future is as bright as we build, grow and raise it."
Source:Solar Farm Summit LLC
Email:***@solarfarmsummit.com Email Verified
Tags:Solar, Energy, Agriculture, Agrivoltaics, Environment, Economic Development
Industry:Energy, Agriculture, Environment
Location:Plain City - Ohio - United States
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