Defiance County commissioners received information on a proposed solar panel project in Mark Township during their Thursday meeting.
Sarah Moser of the firm Savion met with commissioners during their regular session to discuss several details of the project.
Moser indicated that a solar panel field is proposed in the Mark Center area, with an investment of $60 million planned.
According to Moser — the former economic development director of Van Wert County, where she resides — a solar field capable of generating 49 megawatts of power is proposed, and could use an existing (AEP) substation (near Mark Center) to convey the energy produced. This helps explain the location as building a line to a substation costs about $1 million per mile to transmit the power, she noted.
Asked how many solar panels will be built, Moser said this depends upon the size of each. But she explained that the number of panels “will pretty much blanket the area” where the solar field is built.
She said the general formula is that five acres are needed for each megawatt of power produced.
This would translate to 245 acres for a 49-megawatt facility.
According to Moser, a power buyer (PJM Energy) already is expressing interest in the project. She commented that “Ohio wind and solar is sold before it’s built.”
She told commissioners that a public hearing would be held in the future, if the project moves forward.
Moser explained that she met Tuesday with Mark Township trustees, who were “supportive,” and Defiance County Economic Development director Jerry Hayes, who is “excited” about the proposal.
As for neighboring properties, she said “if we need to plant trees or have some kind of screening or whatever, we’ll probably offer good-neighbor agreements for those people — that they’re compensated for having their backyard changed to panels.”
Moser said the project will not use land north of the railroad tracks (in Mark Township).
Local governments and schools figure to receive tax-related revenue from the development.
In other business Thursday, commissioners:
• received a maintenance update from county maintenance supervisor Ron Cereghin.
• held an insurance appraisal review with EMA director Julie Rittenhouse, Al Redmond of the County Risk Sharing Authority (CORSA) and Larry Woods of First Insurance Group.
• toured Standridge Color Corp., 1160 Integrity Drive, Defiance.