Area solar farm that could power 13K homes gets tax help

A multi-million dollar northwestern Dayton solar farm that could power more than 13,000 homes in Montgomery County is expected to be operational by 2026.

Montgomery County Commission on Tuesday approved a payment-in-lieu of taxes agreement for the Gem City Solar project, a more than 250 acre solar array that will produce 49.9 megawatts.

Ian Edwards, manager of project development with TED Renewables and the lead developer of the Gem City Solar Project, said approval from the county is “an exciting milestone” for the solar farm.

“We look forward to a great partnership with both the city of Dayton and Montgomery County in the years to come,” he said on Tuesday.

The Dayton project site is located in the area of Little Richmond Road, north of the intersection of Hoover Avenue and Olive Road.

The entire property is expected to have around 116,000 panels. Electricity generated from the solar array will be fed into an existing transmission line that runs through the site.

The project will enhance the resiliency of Dayton’s electrical supply with “clean, affordable and reliable electricity,” according to TED Renewables.

Leaders of TED Renewables hope to start construct on the solar project next year, with the farm becoming operational sometime in 2026.

Projects above 20 megawatts require approval from their local board of county commissioners, according to the Ohio Department of Development. Projects 50 megawatts and above must also seek approval from the Ohio Power Siting Board; Gem City Solar falls short of requiring approval from this state board.

The tax abatement will allow the solar company to make payments to the county in lieu of public utility personal property taxes and real property taxes for 35 years.

These annual payments will include $7,000 per every megawatt generated per year, as well as a $2,000 per megawatt annual service payment.

This is expected to generate more than $7 million for the Trotwood-Madison School District and $3.5 million to Montgomery County and the city of Dayton over the next 35 years.

The solar farm received the green light from the Dayton city commission in July 2023, with city officials approving rezoning for the property.

Dayton city officials then said the project would help the city move forward in its sustainability goals.