Solar farm heading to Auglaize County

By Josh Ellerbrock - [email protected]

LIMA — A large 375-megawatt solar farm is currently being developed for a 2,100-acre plot 10 miles southwest of Lima in Auglaize County.

Lightsource bp Spokesperson Mary Grikas said the project’s team members are currently in the area reaching out to various stakeholders.

Estimated to cost $337 million to build, the larger community could see some major benefits if Birch Solar Farm is completed, according to Lightsource bp. The company estimates the large-scale project would provide $2.7 million annually in local tax benefits and create 400 jobs during its 14- to 16-month construction window. In total, $81 million in local taxes would be paid by the project over its 30-year lifetime.

The solar farm developer is also “committing to a $500,000 Community Fund to support educational opportunities and community emergency services within Allen and Auglaize counties.”

“I’m excited about the project,” Grikas said. “The team is really committed to making it work for the community.”

Under the current timeline, the actual build could start as early as late 2021 or early 2022.

As for what the project would actually look like, Grikas said the development company would work to make any neighbors in the area happy by shielding the actual 10-foot-tall panels with trees, greenery and other landscaping. The company also offers “good neighbor” financial benefits to those who live near the facility.

Either way, the site is expected to be a major one. A facility of that size would be able to power the equivalent of 55,000 homes per year, or all of Allen County, by harnessing solar energy with an extensive grid of solar panels.

Other large solar projects completed by Lightsource bp include the 300MW Bighorn Solar in Colorado and the 260MW Impact Solar in Texas. Two other large-scale solar farms projects are also being developed by the company in Indiana.

More information on the project — including exactly where the development is being planned in Auglaize County — is expected in the near future.

By Josh Ellerbrock

[email protected]

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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