South Branch Solar, LLC (“South Branch”) has proposed the development of a 130-megawatt (MW) solar facility on approximately 700 acres north of the Village of Arcadia in Hancock County, Ohio. Electricity generated by the solar facility will be supplied to the PJM transmission system.
South Branch Solar is expected to operate for 30+ years, providing significant economic investment to the community, a substantial property tax base for the surrounding community and Arcadia school system, and generate emission-free renewable energy.
South Branch Solar applied for permit approval through the Ohio Power Siting Board in July 2021. A design modification was filed in December 2021 scaling the project size down from 205 MW to130 MW, in addition to other design enhancements. If approved, construction of South Branch Solar is expected to begin in 2023, bringing an influx of new jobs to the community. The project would begin operating by early to mid-2024 pending the necessary review and approvals.
Community OutReach in hancock county
As a member of Hancock County, South Branch Solar will reach out to the local community to introduce the solar park and gather feedback to help inform the final design and operation. The public and other interested parties will have an opportunity to learn more about the Project, have their questions answers, and provide feedback during a community open-house (see below for updates), as well as an OPSB-led Public Hearing to be held in Hancock County later in the permit application process. South Branch will consider feedback from the community open-house and Public Hearing as it advances through the Permit process.
South Branch Solar is committed to being a dedicated member of the Hancock County community. We believe being involved means giving back. One recent example of our commitment was our proud sponsorship of the annual Cops and Kids Go Shopping event in Findlay. Thanks to the Fort Findlay FOP Lodge 20 we were able to help 150 Hancock County children have a brighter holiday.
As part of the development process, South Branch Solar submitted a permit application in July 2021 to the Ohio Power Siting Board, the state-level board responsible for permitting energy generation and transmission projects in Ohio. An OPSB permit is required prior to a company constructing and operating a solar project in the state. As part of the permit process South Branch Solar held a public Town Hall in June 2021. The Ohio Power Siting Board will also hold a local public hearing. As part of the OPSB review process, numerous studies and plans were required including: Visual Impact Assessment, Noise Assessment, Property Value Assessment, and a Drain Tile Mitigation Plan.
Community Open House
Thurs., June 24, 2021
Arcadia Lions Community Center
301 West Brown Rd., Arcadia, OH
South Branch Solar hosted a Community Open House on June 24, 2021 at the Arcadia Lions Community Center in Arcadia, Ohio.
The Open House House was an opportunity for the community to get additional information on South Branch Solar and to have questions answered.
The meeting was open from 6-8 pm and featured a series of posters with information and visual renderings of the project. Representatives of South Branch Solar were also on hand to review project details, answer questions and receive feedback. See Open House Posters link at left for downloadable copy of the posters presented at the meeting.
Local Public Hearing (OPSB)
Evidentiary Hearing (OPSB)
Held April 27, 2022
Held June 1, 2022
As a dedicated member of the communities we call home, we work hard to earn the trust of our neighbors.
Our involvement goes well beyond job creation, economic investment, and providing clean, renewable energy. We strive to build lasting partnerships with civic leaders and property owners. Throughout the life of every project, we pride ourselves on being transparent in our communication and highly responsive to public feedback.
And most importantly, we believe being involved means giving back. We get to know our neighbors and love supporting the local causes they are passionate about. Whether through employee volunteer opportunities or corporate-level sponsorships, we are always looking for positive ways to stay actively engaged with our communities.
South Branch Solar, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leeward Renewable Energy, LLC, a leading renewable energy producer dedicated to sustainably powering the future. Leeward currently owns and operates 22 renewable energy facilities across nine states, totaling more than 2,000 MW of installed capacity.
Leeward is a portfolio company of OMERS infrastructure, a preeminent global infrastructure investment arm of OMERs, one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans with over C$105 billion in net assets (as of December 31, 2020)
Responsible development is an ethos that runs deep at Leeward and our subsidiary companies. We develop, own, and operate renewable generation assets for the long term, and are committed to leaving a positive impact on the communities where we operate. We achieve this by prioritizing our values of community partnership, sustainability and safety.
CLICK HERE for more information about Leeward Renewable Energy, LLC.
Solar frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What will the solar facility look like?
South Branch Solar will primarily consist of rows of photovoltaic electric generating modules mounted to steel frames that are installed on driven steel posts with central inverters spaced throughout the site. The entire perimeter of the Project site will be fenced for security and safety. Vegetative screening will be implemented at various locations to enhance the visual appeal of the site.
How does photovoltaic solar technology work?
Photovoltaic (PV) modules capture energy from the sun and produce direct current (DC) electricity. The DC electricity flows to electrical inverters where it is converted to alternating current (AC) electricity. The AC electricity is then combined and transformed to the electrical grid’s voltage at the project substation, where it connects to the utility’s system and is sold to the market.
Will the solar facility produce glare or noise?
No. Photovoltaic modules are designed to absorb sunlight, not reflect it. The amount of sunlight the modules absorb correlates directly to the amount of electricity produced, thus modules are designed to absorb maximum amounts of sunlight and minimize reflection. In fact, typical solar module glass is constructed with anti-reflective coatings. Solar facilities produce minimal noise as they do not contain large mechanical components. We design our facilities so that any increase in noise from operation is negligible at neighboring properties.
What is the OPSB permitting process?
The renewable facility permitting process in Ohio is run through the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB). All new solar facilities with a generating capacity of 50 MW or more must obtain a certificate from the OPSB. The permit application for South Branch will be filed in June 2021 and an OPSB public hearing will follow later in the process. As part of the permitting application South Branch Solar will be required to submit a number of studies regarding the project including an economic impact assessment, noise assessment, and wetland and archeological assessments.
How long will the solar facility be operational?
The average life of a solar facility is approximately 30-40 years.
Who will maintain the property and vegetation?
South Branch Solar will be responsible for maintaining the property. We work diligently with consultants and local stakeholders to ensure proper ground cover, erosion and sediment control, and stormwater management occurs on the site. We also implement vegetation management plans and construction best management practices to promote the establishment of native vegetation and manage overgrowth and invasive plant species.
What happens at the end of the Project’s life?
At the end of the life of the Project, South Branch Solar will be responsible for removing equipment and restoring the site to its original use. As part of the permitting process, the OPSB will review South Branch’s proposed decommissioning plan to ensure ample consideration and funding are secured.
How will the project benefit my community?
The Project will bring a large direct investment to the community including significant property taxes, and provide more clean energy to Ohio. Construction of the solar park will also bring approximately 500 new employment opportunities, and local business generated from the purchase of food, fuel, accommodations, and other local supplies.
How will construction impact my community?
During the construction period there will be a relatively short-term increase in traffic volume and noise, typical of similar projects. Once the Project is operational, daily traffic to and from the site will be minimal. Throughout the life of the Project, it will not burden Hancock County services and utilities.
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