A twelve megawatt solar farm on over 80 acres in Wyandot County was recently launched. It is generating enough electricity to power 9,000 homes. Governor Ted Strickland said, “Today we are flipping the switch on Ohio’s largest solar farm. But we’re really flipping the switch on the future.”
He also noted the project was good for the state’s economy because the panels were manufactured locally. Also the construction was undertaken by mostly Ohio workers. 159,000 solar panels were installed in an area which had been producing soybeans and corn just one year ago.
The solar farm is owned by PSEG Solar Source. They have been in business for decades, and today employ about 10,000 people. Diana Drysdale, from PSEG said, “We’ve very much enjoyed and liked our experience in Ohio, and we support the approach that Ohio is taking to renewables of all sorts and all along the value chain. So we’re looking seriously at future projects in Ohio as well.” Juwi Solar was the engineering contractor and developed the solar plant. They have several hundred employees focused solely on solar.
While states like Arizona and Texas may seem like the first choice for solar, the new farm uses thin film technology which generates electricity even at lower sunlight levels seen during Ohio winters.
The state’s new law, SB 221, requires a minimum of 12.5 percent of total power production to be from renewable sources by 2025, says a news article. However, the state legislature’s website purports a much larger percentage: “By 2025 and thereafter, an electric distribution utility shall provide from alternative energy resources… That portion shall equal twenty-five per cent of the total number of kilowatt hours of electricity sold by the subject utility or company.”
Environment Ohio commented on the law and suggested the 12.5 minimum be increased. They also noted that renewable energy costs are declining, so much they could be less than energy from nuclear and coal: “Cost estimates from a 2003 study by MIT found that electricity from a new nuclear power plant could cost 6.7 cents per kWh while the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the per kWh cost of a new wind farm would be around five cents per kWh.”
Image Credit: Juwi Solar