Hillcrest Solar, Ohio’s largest solar project breaks ground

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Hillcrest Solar, Ohio’s first and hence largest utility-scale solar project has begun construction, following a groundbreaking ceremony attended by the state’s legislators. According to Innergex Renewable Energy the contracted developers, the 200MW Hillcrest Solar facility, is expected to nearly double the state of Ohio’s entire installed solar capacity, which sits currently at 248MW.

The project is going to be located on 1,350 acres of land in Brown County, approximately 45 miles east of Cincinnati. Remarkably, the project is among the six solar installations tied to Ohio’s controversial HB 6, which passed in July and provides a substitute for uneconomic coal and nuclear power plants.

Hillcrest and the other five projects are eligible for funding under the bill’s clean-air fund, which is expected to raise US $190m annually. Of that US $190m, an estimated US $170m will go towards the financial salvation of the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants.

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The remaining US $20m is set to subsidize the lucky six proposed solar plants. According to Wood Mackenzie, Ohio ranks as the top state in the Midwest for solar development over the next half-decade, driven by 1,075MW of solar planned to come on-line by 2021. By 2025, SEIA has predicted that the state will have added close to 1,600MW of capacity. Innergex Renewable Energy acquired the Hillcrest Solar Project from Open Road Renewables.

Under Innergex, Cardno prepared the pre-construction notices for USACE Nationwide allowing for access roads and collection lines crossing  U.S. waters. The Hillcrest Solar project is currently under construction. During construction, Cardno is supporting permit compliance, agency coordination, public outreach, and construction monitoring (based on certificate condition and Ohio EPA requirements).