MOUNT GILEAD — Residents of Washington Township had a wealth of information to review at the Blossom Solar informational meeting at the Washington Township Hall April 6.
Morrow County Citizens for Solar was represented by Tom Cole who is a resident of Washington Township.
Cole said he travels quite a bit around the state for his work and has seen several of the solar projects that are in operation. He’s been impressed by how well-landscaped and kept up they are.
Vice President of Development Patrick Buckley for Blossom Solar was pleased with the turnout of around 100 people for the public information meeting.
Blossom Solar Project is a proposed 144-megawatt, photovoltaic electric generation facility of about 1,100 acres in Washington Township in northwest Morrow County.
Construction of the facility is expected to begin in the summer of 2023 and will take about 12 months to complete.
Panels will be mounted on single-axis trackers on driven steel pilings. The land can be returned to farming after the 40-year life of the project.
The facility once completed will generate about $1.3 million yearly in local PILOT benefits for schools, roads, and benefits to other county tax jurisdictions.
Residents were able to speak to company representatives as well as an expert in solar technology from the University of Toledo and two from the Ohio Power Siting Board. Maps of the proposed solar project were posted in the room along with detailed information about solar projects.
Randy Ellingson of the University of Toledo demonstrated two types of solar panels and explained in detail how they worked. He said it is possible that solar panels from First Solar in Perrysburg, Ohio might be used, although materials for the project have not yet been contracted.
Landscape Architect Amy Taylor of MKSK Architecture in Columbus was on hand to explain how shrubs, grasses and trees will be planted with sufficient setbacks along roads and residences Taylor pointed out that the plantings will have a pollinator mix that will benefit crops in the area.
Taylor is a graduate of Highland High School in Sparta. She is glad she can work on this landscaping project for Morrow County.
Julie Graham-Price was there representing the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB.) She explained the process of the Blossom Solar application for certification, which is a year-long process. The next step will be submitting the certificate of application following the informational meeting.
There will be two public notices following the OPSB acceptance of the application. A public hearing will be announced this summer or fall after a thorough OPSB investigation of the project.
Graham-Price said the public will have the opportunity at the public hearing to voice their approval or objections to the project.
There will be local representation on the OPSB since two of the nine voting OPSB members will include a Morrow County Commissioner and Washington Township Trustee.
On the way to certification, Blossom Solar is actively completing many studies such as drainage and groundwater, appearance and landscaping, transportation, ecological and feasibility. Land leasing and right-of-way acquisition has been completed.
For more information see: www.morrowsolarfarms.com and www.blossomsolarproject.com. Their email address is [email protected]