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A Cleveland Landfill Will Host Ohio's Largest Solar Farm

A solar farm in Shelby, Ohio.
Thomas R Machnitzki

Ohio’s largest solar power project is underway on a landfill in Brooklyn, a neighborhood in Cleveland. By July, the project is expected to begin generating 5 percent of the electricity supply for 16 Cuyahoga county buildings. 

The site will construct 35,520 solar panels to provide 4 megawatts of power.

Mike Foley, director of the county’s sustainability office, spoke about the project’s local appeal at Wednesday’s “anti-groundbreaking.”

“This is an Ohio project – the panels are from Toledo, First Solar. The racking system is from RBI Racking, who is here,” Foley says. “The concrete is coming from Canton, it will be local labor. IGS Solar is a Columbus company.”

The solar panels are expected to operate at full power for 25 years. The total cost for the project is $10 million, with the county paying almost $8 million. IGS Solar will foot the rest of the bill.

Foley says the project’s construction will also create 75-100 jobs. It could also be a model for similar properties state-wide.

“We think this is a perfect example of how closed landfills in the state, and properties that have been brownfield properties can be beneficially used and put back into service,” said Ohio EPA’s Kurt Princic.

The project is part of a county-wide investment in renewable energy that also includes an offshore wind project currently stalled in the state permitting process.

Reporter/producer Elizabeth Miller joined ideastream after a stint at NPR headquarters in Washington D.C., where she served as an intern on the National Desk, pitching stories about everything from a gentrified Brooklyn deli to an app for lost dogs. Before that, she covered weekend news at WAKR in Akron and interned at WCBE, a Columbus NPR affiliate. Elizabeth grew up in Columbus before moving north to attend Baldwin Wallace, where she graduated with a degree in broadcasting and mass communications.