Champaign County could be home to new solar farm

Champaign County may be the site of a new 144 megawatt solar‑powered generating facility that would be used to produce electricity.

The project has been proposed by Clearview Solar I, LLC and would consist of a large array of solar panels that would be located on about 1,100 acres of land in Adams Township.

The project will be the main topic of discussion during an in-person hearing by the Ohio Power Siting Board that will take place on Thursday.

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The purpose of the hearing this week is to give individuals that participated in a similar hearing in June the opportunity to provide testimony regarding the proposed solar farm.

The hearing will be held at the township meeting room at 10778 W. St. Rt. 29 and will start at 6 p.m.

The proposed solar project will not only construct the solar panels, but also infrastructure such as access roads, electric collection lines, inverters, weather stations and a substation.

If the project goes through, it will be the first solar farm of its kind in Champaign County, said Marcia Bailey, the director of the Champaign Economic Partnership.

Clearview started looking at the area last year for the solar project, Bailey said. That included talking to local property owners regarding the leasing of land, she added.

Several meetings have been held this year, including over zoom, to raise awareness regarding the project. The potential solar farm has also been discussed by Champaign County Commissioners during their public meeting.

Bailey said that Clearview has gained momentum on the project including securing farmland that will be used for the solar farm.

A staff report by the Ohio Power Sitting Board stated that the solar project would occupy “approximately 1,075 acres within an approximate 1,195-acre project area comprised of private land secured by the applicant through agreements with the landowners.”

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The Ohio Power Sitting Board is expected to approve or disapprove of the project by January. Bailey said if the project is approved, construction would likely start in the spring of 2022.

She said the construction phase is expected to last 9 to 12 months, according to information provided by Clearview.

Bailey did not have the estimated cost of the project but said that representatives of Clearview said it would have a $1 million impact locally, including tax revenues to local schools.

The project is also slated to create 5 to 10 long-term jobs, Bailey added.

Clearview could not be reached for comment as of Tuesday afternoon.