Renewable energy company looks to build solar field in Clinton County


By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com



James Madson, senior manager of project development for Pattern Development, uses a paper handout to show how solar panels track the movement of the sun.

James Madson, senior manager of project development for Pattern Development, uses a paper handout to show how solar panels track the movement of the sun.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

WILMINGTON — A renewable energy business anticipates building a solar project east of Martinsville to produce enough electricity for 10,000 to 11,000 homes a year.

James Madson, senior manager of project development for San Francisco-based Pattern Development, told Clinton County commissioners Monday the company has found an in-state buyer for the electricity, which Pattern Development expects a signature from very soon.

The project utilizes solar panels, and would go on a site that’s about 450 acres in Clark Township in Clinton County.

There are a couple key reasons for choosing the location, Madson said.

One important factor is the existing transmission grid. Renewable energy companies look for high-voltage transmission lines that have the room for added energy so that the company does not have to pay for costly upgrades, said Madson.

Dayton Power & Light has a transmission line with additional capacity that goes right through the middle of the Clark Township site. That way, Pattern can generate the energy on-site and deliver it to a “point of interconnection,” also on-site, Madson said.

Another factor in choosing the site is the local location is in an energy region that covers 13 states from northern Illinois eastward to the Maryland/Virginia area.

“So one of the reasons we like this project, believe it or not, is the solar resource — the actual number of sunny days and the intensity of the sun — is actually good, and is relatively good here than it is in other areas of those 13 states,” said Madson.

Construction is planned to start in fall 2020, and take about a year to complete.

The solar energy would be injected into the Dayton Power & Light system.

To keep the public informed, a town hall or open house is likely in the next two to four months, said the representative of Pattern Development, which is a for-profit company.

The solar facilities would be decommissioned and removed after a 35- to 40-year life, according to an informational handout. Clinton County Commissioner Mike McCarty asked Madson whether the company or, in the alternative, a successor firm would have the responsibility to dismantle the operations, and was assured the company is obligated.

Clinton County Commissioner Kerry R. Steed mentioned he’s heard about other possible renewable energy projects in the Clinton and Highland Counties area. Madson said those are not Pattern Development projects.

Madson has worked in the renewable energy industry for close to 18 years, and he said over time the prices of renewable energies have gone down.

“We’re actually at a point in the industry that’s very, very interesting, because it doesn’t have to be about the clean attributes — the green attributes — of the electricity any more. It can be the financial argument,” he said.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

James Madson, senior manager of project development for Pattern Development, uses a paper handout to show how solar panels track the movement of the sun.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/10/web1_DSC_1272.jpgJames Madson, senior manager of project development for Pattern Development, uses a paper handout to show how solar panels track the movement of the sun. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com