A recent writer posed a number of thoughtful questions about two solar projects that our company, Open Road Renewables, is proposing in Preble County. These projects — one southwest of Eaton called “Alamo” and one north of College Corner called “Angelina” — would bring quiet, clean energy for the whole region while providing a new source of stable income to landowners hosting the solar panels, creating well-paying temporary and long-term jobs for Ohioans, and providing substantial local tax revenue.
Although no energy source is perfect, Preble County currently imports all of its electricity from outside of the county and hosting these solar projects would mean more local energy dollars staying in the local economy and providing jobs and tax revenues locally.
A solar project is simply fields with connected rows of solar panels, just like the kind on the roofs of homes. It is a highly passive, temporary land use: it creates virtually no noise, odor, light, dust or traffic. There are few foundations, a planted turf grass retains soil and helps control run-off while significantly reducing nitrogen loading in local waterways vs. active crop farming, and the land can be returned to farming after the useful life of the panels. Panels have a low profile and perimeter landscaping means that neighbors will see mostly trees and shrubs, not the equipment.
Last month we presented detailed information about solar and the proposed projects at well-attended community meetings in Eaton, which were advertised locally. Each neighboring landowner also received a written notice about the meetings. Before and since then, we have been in contact with interested individuals to hear their views and answer their questions, including at a recent commissioners meeting.
In our experience, we have been able to address most of the questions and concerns raised about these kinds of projects and welcome the engagement. Also, projects such as these must be approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board, which will hold its own advertised public hearings in the county in the coming months.
In the meantime, we invite anyone in the community to contact us at SolarForPreble@openroadrenewables.com for more information and dialogue.
Director of Business Development
Open Road Renewables