Another of the players in the checkerboard of solar energy promoted the benefits of locating another solar panel farm in Highland County, and answered some of the questions put forth by both those in favor of the new Dodson Creek facility, and those still on the fence about its long-term implications.
National Grid Renewables (NGR) presented the first public information hearing Wednesday night concerning its proposed 117-megawatt Dodson Creek Solar Panel Farm, which the company hopes to build southeast of Lynchburg on 1,462 acres of land in Northwest Highland County.
Wednesday’s public information hearing was held virtually on the GoToWebinar digital platform, with the audio-only available over the phone.
Two separate presentations were conducted, the first being the complete audio/video version at 6 p.m. that was followed by an audio-only presentation at 8 p.m.
The public hearing was required by the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) before the company can formally submit its certificate application, the fourth step in a 13-step process for project approval.
Various representatives of National Grid Renewables conducted the hearing, which was comprised of an introduction of the company, details pertaining to the Dodson Creek project, an explanation of the OPSB permitting process, what goes into solar panel farm construction, and the benefits to the community at-large once the facility becomes operational.
Nearby residents and adjacent landowners to the Dodson Creek project submitted written questions to company representatives, with those questions ranging from the number of jobs that will be created during construction, protection of wildlife in the project perimeter, recycling of materials when the facility reaches the end of its lifetime and the subject that was on everyone’s mind who lived near and around the project — the effect on property values.
Sarah Eberly, a developer with NGR, said that testimony surrounding other solar panel facilities across the country from an independent real estate property value assessment firm showed no effect on property values.
She said the study was specific to real estate located near or adjacent to solar panel farms, before and after the facility became operational, in addition to taking into consideration specific property valuations.
NGR is the prime contractor of not only the Dodson Creek project, but also the proposed 120-megawatt Ross County solar farm just southeast of Greenfield across the Ross County line, and the smaller 47.5-megawatt Fayette Solar project, which will span both Fayette and Highland counties with a portion of the facility to be located approximately one-half mile north of Greenfield.
An open house for the citizens of Madison Township in Highland County concerning the Fayette Solar project has been scheduled by the company for Thursday, May 6 from 5-8 p.m. at the Madison Township Community Building on Centerfield Road just west of Greenfield.
If the OPSB gives the go-ahead for construction of Dodson Creek, the company hopes to have the facility online and generating electricity by the end of 2023.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.