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Cincinnati Spells Out Specifics For Massive Solar Project

It's here on this 1,000 acres of soybeans in Highland County where the solar project will be built. It's scheduled to be finished in late 2021.
City of Cincinnati
It's here on this 1,000 acres of soybeans in Highland County where the solar project will be built. It's scheduled to be finished in late 2021.

A piece of property forty miles east of Cincinnati and the size of 750 football fields will be the site of the city's massive solar project, the largest in the U.S. run by a city. At a Thursday news conference city leaders said when the solar farm is finished in late 2021 it's expected to generate enough electricity to power 25,000 homes every day and save Cincinnati an estimated $1.7 million over the length of the 20 year contract.

The solar array consisting of  310,000 solar panels, will cover about 1,000 acres in Highland County. This clean renewable energy will power all city facilities and serve Cincinnati residents through the Cincinnati Electric Aggregation Program.

Mayor John Cranley spelled out how it will work for city residents. "We will be aggregating, out of 700 MW a year, roughly 75 MW to be part of this initial array. About 25 percent of your home energy will now come from this solar renewable source as part of this project.

"I am very proud that we will lead the country in city-lead solar investment," Cranley exclaimed.

The project is drawing praise from a long list of groups including the Ohio Environmental Council. "That kind of bold forward thinking is exactly what it's going to take to make sure Ohio doesn't fall behind," says Executive Director Heather Taylor-Miesle.

A press release from the city says the solar farm is the equivalent of keeping 157,000,000 pounds of coal in the ground every year, removing 30,000 cars from the road each year and planting 2.4 million trees annually.

Mayor Cranley says the project will result in hundreds of local construction jobs. Cincinnati State has a solar program and is a partner in the project.

Cincinnati says it isn't paying upfront and instead signing a power purchase agreement. The farm will be privately financed.

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With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.