Ohio’s largest solar farm will also be the US’s largest agrivoltaics project

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Ohio has green-lit what will be the state’s largest solar farm – and the US’s largest agrivoltaics project.

The $1 billion Oak Run Solar Project, approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board last week, will sit on over 6,000 acres in Madison County, west of Columbus. Bill Gates owns some of that land.

The 800-megawatt (MW) solar farm will have two 3.5-mile-long transmission lines. It will also be paired with a 300 MW battery energy storage facility and create enough electricity to power 170,000 households. Kansas City-based Savion, a Shell Group subsidiary, is Oak Run’s developer.

Nearly 90% of Madison County is designated as farmland, and Oak Run has faced a lot of local opposition. So as part of the approval conditions, Oak Run will graze at least 1,000 sheep and grow crops on 2,000 acres after the first year of operation. Within eight years of operation, at least 70% of the farmable project area, or at least 4,000 acres, will include agrivoltaics.

That will make it the largest agrivoltaics project in the US. According to the Ohio Power Siting Board, it will also be a first-of-its-kind utility-scale solar energy plan for livestock grazing and row crops.

Nolan Rutschilling, Ohio Environmental Council’s managing director of Energy Policy, said, “As climate change continues to disrupt Ohio’s agriculture practices and yields, the practice of agriculture in tandem with solar panels represents a unique and bold opportunity to act on climate.”

Oak Run will generate $7.2 million in revenue annually for the county, local governments, and schools and will create 1,500 union construction jobs.

Read more: Texas installs another big solar + battery storage project


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