COLUMBUS – The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) on Thursday approved an application filed by Clearview Solar I, LLC to construct a solar‑powered electric generating facility in Champaign County.
The 144 megawatt (MW) project will occupy approximately 1,075 acres within an approximately 1,195-acre project area located in Adams Township in northwest Champaign County. The project will consist of large arrays of photovoltaic modules, commonly referred to as solar panels, as well as associated facilities including access roads, electric collection lines, weather stations, inverters and transformers, a substation and a 138 kilovolt (kV) generation interconnection electric transmission line.
In December of 2020, Open Road Renewables filed a permit application with the Ohio Power Siting Board for the Clearview Solar project, which works with landowners using lease agreements to utilize acreage.
“This filing falls on the heels of receiving a University of Cincinnati economic analysis, which determined that Clearview Solar will contribute over $1 million annually to Graham Local Schools, Adams Township and Champaign County,” Doug Herling, vice president of Development for Open Road Renewables, said last year when the application was filed. “We are fortunate to be a part of the Champaign County economy and the Adams Township community, as we work to build a state-of-the-art solar facility that will create local jobs, revenue and clean energy.”
During the virtual community meetings held prior to OPSB approval of the project, Open Road representatives indicated developers would seek a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) from the Champaign County Commission, but would most likely develop the project whether or not the PILOT was granted.
However, without PILOT, representatives stated that community-focused job hiring would be at risk. According to the Champaign County Commissioners, Clearview has not yet submitted an application for PILOT.
OPSB held a local public hearing at the Champaign County Community Center in June in which the community could participate.
Thousands of interconnected solar modules are to be mounted on racking attached to the steel pilings for the Clearview Solar project. The proposed site has a maximum height of 15 feet and an estimated ground coverage ratio of 31%.
Like any other major utility facility in Ohio, Clearview Solar was required to obtain a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need from the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) before construction can begin.
Another potential utility-scale solar project called Urbana Solar, affiliated with Pattern Energy, announced plans within the past two years. The installation would be south of Urbana and span Urbana and Mad River townships, according to earlier reporting. The OPSB website of application filings does not yet show Urbana Solar has applied for a certificate.