Coming Soon to Ohio: The Largest Agrivoltaic Farm in the US

The ambitious 6,000-acre project will combine an 800-megawatt solar farm with crop and livestock production.

1 minute read

April 24, 2024, 6:00 AM PDT

By Mary Hammon @marykhammon

Aeriel view of white sheep grazing on green grass between rows of solar panels.

Revive Photo Media / Adobe Stock

Ohio state officials have approved a 800-megawatt solar project on 6,000 acres about 25 west of Columbus, the state’s capital. The Oak Run Solar project in Madison County will co-locate 4,400 acres of solar panels and storage with production of sheep and crops, a practice called agrivoltaics, reports the Columbus Dispatch. At a cost of $1 billion, it will be the largest project of its kind in the country, and produce enough electricity to power 170,000 homes and $8.2 million in annual tax revenue.

The Ohio Siting Board approved the project, which will be built on land partially owned by Bill Gates, though it was opposed by local officials, who said the project doubles the amount of prime farmland in the county that will be taken out of production because of solar uses. It’s a concern the practice of agrivoltaics seeks to mitigate by planting crops along the edges of solar fields and allowing livestock to graze between the panels. “In the first year of operation, Oak Run must graze at least 1,000 sheep and grow crops on 2,000 acres. Within eight years of operation, at least 70% of the farmable project area, or at least 4,000 acres, must include agrivoltaics,” reports Mark Williams for the Dispatch.

The development company, Savion, says construction could begin in 2025.

Thursday, March 21, 2024 in Columbus Dispatch

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