An Ontario firm wants to explore the possibility of building a large solar field west of Defiance.

Two representatives of Liberty Power, based in Oakville, Ontario, a community just west of Toronto, met with Defiance County commissioners Monday to provide a broad outline of their plans.

Olivia Neter, environmental planner, and Tom Healy, project developer, presented a map showing the area they are considering for the proposed 300-megawatt solar field.

Located between Sherwood and Hicksville, the area is bounded on the north by Scott Road, on the east by U.S. 127 and on the south by the Defiance-Paulding county line. The area is bounded on the west by Cicero Road and Ohio 2.

Healy indicated that the company would like to keep the solar field near a large 138,000 kilovolt line that runs along Ohio in the proposed project area. This would allow the field to tie into the line.

He said 2,000 acres might be needed for the field.

Neter told commissioners that Liberty Power will begin talking to property owners in a couple months about leasing land for the solar field. After land is acquired, she said the company would “start the interconnection application” and continue community engagement before moving to permitting in the 2021-23 period with construction in 2024 and operation beginning in 2024 or 2025.

Defiance County Engineer Warren Schlatter, who manages the county’s Canal Road landfill, asked the company representatives about the possibility of smaller solar fields. He suggested that 20-50 acres of county-owned property on the landfill site — reserved now as a buffer zone — could be used for solar field development in the future.

Liberty Power’s proposal is the second suggested solar field in Defiance County in recent months. A separate company (Savion) is proposing construction of a 110-megawatt solar field on Fountain Street Road, east of Mark Center in 2022, that will utilize approximately 700 acres.

In another matter Monday, commissioners held a second public hearing on an application for grant funds to benefit a proposed well improvement project in Hicksville. The hearing was required due to the application for a public community development block (CDBG) grant fund through the state.

The village government wants to add a new drinking water well to ensure the resource when two other wells are no longer sufficient. One well is beginning to fail, according to county commissioners.

The village bought 60 acres near the village water plant this year in anticipation of the well project. Well tests there have been favorable, commissioners noted.

The project cost is $1,352,313, with the CDBG grant providing $480,000 and the Ohio Water Development Authority adding $500,000. The village’s funding share will be $352,313.

On other business Monday, commissioners:

• opened bids on the Parker Ditch project along Ohio 18, east of Openlander Road, in Mark Township. Bids were received from Zenz Farms Inc., Delta, $27,000; Sand Ridge Excavating, Cloverdale, $29,020; Shininger Surface Drainage, Ney, $31,995; and The Weber Company, Archbold, $54,300. The engineer’s estimate was $29,000. Commissioners will award a contract later.

• approved the Nagel Road Ditch project in Adams and Tiffin townships. The ditch is located along Nagel Road. Estimated cost is $61,304.48.

• received Schlatter’s weekly report. He noted that county highway crews will replace an additional culvert on Coy Road before working on roadside widening on Ridenour Road, north of Scott Road.

• held the annual stewardship meeting with Ali Redmond of CORSA, Larry Woods and Amy Weisgerber of First Insurance Group, and Public Safety Coordinator Julie Rittenhouse.

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