Solar energy is becoming increasingly prominent in people’s lives. As it is a renewable energy resource, people and institutions have seen that it has advantages over more traditional energy sources, such as coal. Many people have solar panels on top of their homes in order to provide their homes with energy. On a larger scale, solar farms provide energy to many homes and businesses. These are located all over the United States, most of the largest ones being in California. But what is the largest solar farm in Ohio? Read on to find out!
What Is a Solar Farm?
A solar farm is comparable to a traditional farm in that it fulfills a need for the public. While traditional farms provide meat and produce, solar farms provide energy. They are also known as photovoltaic power stations and solar parks.
A solar farm is essentially a collection of photovoltaic solar panels that take in the Sun’s energy. It then converts this energy into usable electricity, which it sends to the power grid. From the power grid, this electricity goes to residential and commercial consumers.
While single solar panels for buildings are typically mounted on rooftops, the panels in solar farms are typically attached to the ground. They can be very large, falling into two categories. There are utility-scale solar farms and community solar farms.
Even though all solar farms are technically utility-scale, as they provide local utility companies with electricity, the term “utility-scale solar farms” refers to extremely large solar farms. Some of these farms have hundreds of thousands of panels. They typically generate hundreds of MW (megawatts) of power.
Community solar farms are much smaller-scale facilities. They generate approximately 5 MW of electricity for smaller local communities.
In general, community solar farms power homes that are within a much closer geographical range. This is in stark contrast to the electricity generated by utility-scale solar farms, which can travel for several miles before it reaches the building it powers.
The Largest Solar Farm in Ohio
The largest solar farm in Ohio is Amazon Solar Farm Ohio – Hillcrest, also known as Hillcrest Solar. This is a 200 MW facility located in Brown County. This farm was commissioned on May 11, 2021. It uses Duke Energy Ohio in order to transmit electricity to homes and businesses.
Construction of the solar project started in 2020, with commercial operation beginning the next year. The project was developed in one phase, and it is currently active. The owner of the project is Innergex Renewable Energy.
Innergex develops, owns, and operates facilities that produce renewable energy. These include solar farms, wind farms, and hydroelectric facilities. The company then sells electricity to other entities. These facilities are located in the United States, in addition to Canada, Chile, and France.
They developed the project along with Open Road Renewables, MAP Energy Solutions, and Hillcrest Solar I. The power that the project generates goes to Amazon.com, by the terms of a power purchase agreement.
This facility contains 606,480 First Solar Series 6 thin film photovoltaic solar panels. This is one of the first utility-scale solar projects that has gone through the Ohio Power Siting Board permitting process and gotten all of the necessary certifications to operate.
This solar farm is in collaboration with Southern State Community College, which enables site visits for students in their programs. The farm is in the process of creating an education fund that is seeded with $60,000 at the date of commercial operation and $7,000 for each following year.
Brown County: Background Information
Brown County is located in the southern part of Ohio, about 30 to 40 minutes east of the city of Cincinnati. As of 2020, the county population was 43,676. The Ohio River borders this county to the south.
Brown County found its inception in 1817 when it formed from parts of Clermont and Adams counties. Major General Jacob Brown, a hero of the War of 1812, is the county’s namesake.
Many prominent Industries in Brown County include surgical equipment, metal toolboxes, cement blocks, plastic machinery parts, non-alcoholic beverages, and wildlife art prints. It is also a provider of agricultural products, such as grain, tobacco, and livestock.
Reactions of the People to Large Solar Farms in Ohio
Even though solar farms are great for clean energy and going green, there are many people who are not happy with their presence close to their homes. With the construction of solar farms comes the destruction of nature and farmland, along with increased noise, a temperature rise of 5°F, a decrease in property value, and potential contamination of the water supply.
People are also not happy with the constant construction that is a result of the development of solar farms. Some worry that the solar panels will eventually become obsolete, and they will still be there cluttering the area. Others wonder why the solar panels are in Ohio instead of states with more sunshine, where they would be able to generate more energy.
This is not only an issue in Ohio. People are raising concerns about developing solar farms all over the United States. Despite all of the clean energy they bring people, the truth is that they currently come with quite a few problems as well. It is not yet clear whether or not a solution will present itself.
Animals Around the Largest Solar Farm in Ohio
Common mammals in southern Ohio include the whitetail deer, coyotes, black bears, and bobcats. There are also hundreds of avian species, including blue jays, great horned owls, wild turkeys, red-headed woodpeckers, and American robins.
Southern Ohio reptiles include woodland box turtles and the black racer, which happens to be the state reptile. There are also amphibians, such as red-spotted newts, American toads, and western chorus frogs in Ohio.
Where is Amazon Solar Farm Located on a Map?
Situated in Brown County, Ohio, USA, the Amazon Solar Farm Ohio – Hillcrest is a robust solar energy facility with a capacity of 200 MW.
Here is Amazon Solar Farm on a map:
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