A representative from the energy company behind the solar panel farm came to the trustee meeting on Feb. 11, 2020, to talk to the trustees and answer any questions.
The project that encompasses 610 acres equally situated in Clermont and Brown counties had encountered a temporary setback in October 2019 when their plan was sent back from the approval board for more details. The energy company has since resubmitted and expects approval out of Columbus in March 2020. Once they get the go-ahead, the process will still take a couple years to complete.
He promised the trustees that they are not allowed to sell energy outside a regulated multi-state area and the corporation that buys the energy from the panels will be released after the negotiations are finalized. His main concern for the visit was to ask for the trustee’s support with a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes). Because the tax revenue from the 610 acres will be lost to future development, the energy company will guarantee $9000 per megawatt goes to the counties to be dispersed back to the townships, which is the same as real estate tax distribution. The advantage of the PILOT is it would benefit the schools and emergency services without putting an additional burden on them. The PILOT would be good for the life of the solar panel project. The expected life of these panels would be 20-25 years. The trustees said they would consult with the lawyer before supporting or opposing the PILOT.
The company is very aware of all the wetlands and the number of protected species in the area. When asked about the maintenance of township roads Leonard and Vandament, he assured everyone that the ultimate responsibility to repair any damage goes back to the energy company and the construction company will be making sure that repairs are made.
If you have any questions that were not addressed here, you may contact any of the trustees and they will find the answer for you.