The village of Greenfield may soon find itself sandwiched between two solar panel farms with the recent approval of the proposed 435-acre Fayette Solar facility.

The Fayette County Board of Zoning Appeals recently voted 3-2 in favor of allowing the new solar panel farm to be built on leased land across the Highland/Fayette County line north of Greenfield.

The local approval of Fayette Solar comes weeks after plans were announced to build the 120-megawatt Ross County Solar facility southeast of Greenfield across the Highland/Ross County line.

Ross County Solar would occupy approximately 1,400 acres between SR 41 and Rapid Forge Road.

National Grid Renewables is the prime contractor for both solar projects, with plans to build and operate the 47.5- megawatt Fayette Solar facility on land rented from a local landowner in southeast Perry Township between Bonner, Barrett and Beatty roads and the Highland County line.

According to the board, the project was given a “conditional use” permit, meaning it will have to abide by conditions set forth by the zoning board and not infringe on neighboring properties.

The board also indicated that the conditional-use permit was for Fayette Solar only and not the entire county, so that other companies who may want to seek approval for another site would need to apply for a similar permit for that site.

Fayette Solar joins a growing list of photovoltaic electric generating facilities in the region surrounding Highland County that are in either the preapplication phase, are pending, or have already been approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB), or are under construction.

Yellow Wood, Dodson Creek, Palomino and Fayette Solar are currently in the preapplication phase.

• Yellow Wood is a 300-megawatt facility to be built by Invenergy, LLC. The OPSB said it will occupy 2,700 acres in Clark and Jefferson townships in southwestern Clinton County, across the Highland/Clinton County line just north of Lynchburg.

• Dodson Creek is a 117-megawatt facility planned by National Grid Renewables. According to the company, it will occupy 1,000 acres in Highland County southeast of Lynchburg. A company spokesperson told The Times-Gazette that project team had a pre-application meeting with OPSB staff in January. The project is still in the early stages of the permitting process, and a public information meeting will be held in the near future. Information regarding the Dodson Creek project can be found at, by phone at 937-739-0120, or by email at [email protected].

• Palomino is a 200-megawatt facility by Innergex, Inc. The company said the project will occupy roughly 1,300 acres in Penn, Union and Dodson townships of northwest Highland County, just east of Lynchburg. A public information hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 9 at 7 p.m. remotely via Webex to allow for public comment on the planned complex.

• Fayette Solar is a 47.5-megawatt facility also planned by National Grid Renewables. NGR said it plans for the solar panel farm to occupy 435 acres of land leased from a private landowner in Perry Township of southeastern Fayette County.

Pending before the OPSB are New Market Solar I and II, and Ross County Solar:

• New Market Solar I is a 65-megawatt facility to be built by Hecate Energy. This is one of a pair of solar panel farms in Clay and Whiteoak townships in southwestern Highland County. New Market Solar I will occupy 582 acres.

• New Market Solar II is a 35-megawatt facility also proposed by Hecate Energy. This will be the smaller of the pair of “bi-furcated” solar farms that will sit on 222-acres in Clay and Whiteoak townships.

• Ross County Solar is a 120-megawatt facility planned by National Grid Renewables. With a footprint of approximately 1,400 acres, NGR plans to build Ross County Solar in Buckskin Township, just across the Highland/Ross County line southeast of Greenfield. A virtual public hearing allowing for public comment before the OPSB is scheduled for Tuesday, April 6 at 6 p.m. via Webex.

The first two proposed Highland County solar panel farms, Willowbrook Solar I and Hecate Highland, have been approved by the OPSB and are awaiting construction:

• Willowbrook Solar I will be a 150-megawatt facility to be owned and operated by RWE Renewables. Once operational, it will occupy 1,600-acres of privately-owned land in Eagle Township of northern Brown County, and Concord and Whiteoak Townships in southern Highland County, approximately two miles east of Mowrystown.

• Highland Solar will be a 300-megawatt facility that will be owned and operated by Hecate Energy. It will be located between Buford and north of Mowrystown on 3,400 acres in Clay and Whiteoak townships.

Only one solar panel farm is currently under construction in Ohio, that being the Hillcrest Solar complex across the Highland/Brown County line near Buford. The other two remaining solar panel farms in Ohio that were being built — Hardin I and Hardin II — were completed in Hardin County in December, according to Dominion Energy, which recently acquired it.

• Hillcrest Solar will be a 200-megawatt facility, now in the final construction phases north of Mt. Orab and just west of Buford on Bardwell-East Road. The plant is owned and operated by Innergex, with the construction contractor, PCL Construction, indicating on its website that construction was scheduled to conclude in May.

Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571. Power Siting Board graphic

By Tim Colliver

[email protected]