Giant Oak Run Solar Project approved by OPSB, Ohio

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Construction on the Oak Run Solar Project, an 800MW proposal in Ohio, has been approved by the Ohio Power Sitting Board. The project also includes the construction of a 300MW battery storage and other regional transmission equipment. The solar plant will be composed of four single axis tracking solar arrays. They will be built in Monroe, Somerford and Deercreek townships in Madison County, Ohio. It will take up nearly 4,400 acres within a 6,050-acre project area.

“As an IBEW member and Local Business Manager, I take pride knowing that the work of our members will empower the local economy in such a significant way. Oak Run will provide hundreds of good-paying middle-class jobs to our members who are prepared and eager to work on such a cutting-edge project,” said Pat Hook, Local 683 business manager.

Oak Run Solar Project LLC is the project developer. They are expected to build access roads, a management and operations building, underground and overhead electric collection lines. Also included is weather stations, inverters and transformers and a collection substation.

The Approval Board

The OPSB approved 46 conditions agreed upon by Oak Run Solar Project. Other members included were the OPSB staff and intervenors, including the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy. Additionally, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 683, and the Ohio Environmental Council. Oak Run Solar Project must adhere to these conditions to minimize and mitigate potential impacts during the construction and operation of the facility.

America’s largest Agrivoltaics Program

Oak Run Solar Project plans to implement an agrivoltaics program. This will involve planting crops and grazing livestock in the rows between solar panels. Additionally, they will be planted along the perimeter of the project. The agrivoltaics program will be the United States’ largest and a first of its kind utility-scale solar energy plan for livestock grazing and row crops.

A Massive New Solar Farm Shines New Light on Madison County

Oak Run must install agricultural style perimeter fencing. This will involve implementing setbacks of 150 ft to roadways and non-participating property boundaries and 300 ft to non‑participating homes. Additionally, they must post a decommissioning bond estimated at $33,334,643 for the solar facility and $11,260,228 for the battery energy storage facility.

Project conditions

According to the project’s conditions, after the first year of operation, Oak Run Solar Project must graze at least 1,000 sheep and 2,000 crop acres. Furthermore, within eight years of operation 4,000 crop acres, must include agrivoltaics. This is approximately 70% of the farmable project area. In addition, Local farmers and businesses are expected to contract with and benefit from the project. This will generate income and entrepreneurial opportunities for the area. Other project related economic benefits include $8.2 million in annual revenue for local governments and schools. Moreover, the creation of an expected 1,500 construction jobs and maintenance positions for workers in and around Madison County.

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