Union Ridge Solar, LLC (Union Ridge) is proud to propose the development of a 107.7 megawatt (MW), single-axis tracking, photovoltaic solar facility (Project), on approximately 512 acres of privately-owned land in Harrison Township, Licking County, Ohio. The Project site is located to the south of American Electric Power’s 138 kilovolt (kV) Kirk substation, where the electricity generated by the Facility will be transferred to the transmission grid operated by PJM Interconnection, LLC.
The solar facility will be developed, owned, and operated by Union Ridge. The Project is expected to operate for 30+ years, providing significant economic investment to the community and generating clean, local energy, which would be provided to the bulk power transmission system in Ohio, in order to meet the electricity needs of the region. Project construction is anticipated to begin in 2022, bringing an influx of new construction jobs to the community. The Project is planned to achieve operation by the fourth quarter of 2022, pending the necessary Ohio Power Siting Board authorization.
As part of the Project development process, Union Ridge will submit an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need (CECPN) to the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB). This certificate is required for companies to construct designated types of utility facilities, such as a solar electric generation facility with a capacity of 50 MW or more. Prior to any formal application filing, Union Ridge will hold public informational meetings. The purpose of these meetings is to provide an opportunity to gather input from the local community to help inform the Project design and development of the application. These meetings will also provide surrounding landowners and other interested parties with an opportunity to learn more about the Project, have their questions answered, and provide feedback on the Project (See below for additional information on the public information meetings).
The OPSB review process requires Union Ridge to evaluate and address, in its application, potential impacts associated with development of the Project. After Union Ridge files its application, the OPSB will take up to 60 days to determine if the application has all the information required by the OPSB’s rules. When this determination is made, the OPSB will set a date for a public hearing on the Project, which will be 60 to 90 days later, and will require Union Ridge to provide notification about the hearing. At least 15 days before the public hearing, the OPSB staff will issue a report on its evaluation of the Project. At the public hearing, any person can provide testimony on any aspect of the proposed Project.
virtual public info mtg
February 25 – 6:00 PM
Watch a recording of the Virtual Public Meeting Here.
telephone public info mtg
february 25 -8:00 pm
Public information meetings
Because of concerns about holding public gatherings during the Covid-19 pandemic, and because of our concerns about the safety of our neighbors, Union Ridge held both a web-based virtual public information meeting and a telephone based public information meeting on February 25, 2021. You can view the a recording of the Virtual Public Meeting here.
Download a report of questions asked during the live Q&A here.
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 fully transparent in our communication and highly responsive to public feedback.
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.
Union Ridge is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leeward Renewable Energy, LLC (Leeward), a leading renewable energy producer dedicated to sustainably powering the future. Leeward currently owns and operates 21 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$100B in net assets.
Responsible development is an ethos that runs deep at Leeward. We develop, own, and operate renewable generation assets for the long-term, and we 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.
Solar frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What will the solar facility look like?
The Union Ridge solar facility 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.
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 collected at a project substation, where it connects to the utility’s electrical system and is sold to market.
Will the solar facility produce glare or noise?
Solar panel technology has advanced significantly in recent years. The solar panels will be manufactured with tempered glass and anti-reflective coatings, minimizing glare. The moving mechanical parts of a solar facility produce minimal noise and are typically inaudible beyond the property boundaries based on the setbacks that are included in the facility’s design.
What is the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB)?
Before construction can begin on any major utility facility within the state of Ohio, a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need must be obtained from the OPSB. For all generation projects, except for wind, the Ohio Revised Code defines a major utility facility as an electric generating plant with a capacity of 50 MW or greater.
What is the OPSB approval process?
The OPSB process provides a forum for consideration of potential impacts associated with the Project, and potential actions to be taken to avoid or minimize any such impacts. Individuals and local government authorities can participate in the OPSB process and provide information for the OPSB to consider in its decision on the Project. Union Ridge’s OPSB application will include a review of potential impacts and will address plans to avoid and minimize those impacts.
How can I provide input into the process before an application is submitted to the OPSB?
Prior to completing the application, we will solicit feedback from the local community through mailers, our website, and public information meetings, with information obtained to be included in the OPSB application. More information on important dates in the application process can be found in the Community Outreach section.
What is the PILOT program?
In Ohio, individual counties are permitted to use an alternative to the standard property tax assessment on certain renewable energy projects. This alternative, known as a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT), requires the generation facility to provide fixed annual payments to the local taxing authority for the life of the facility. In addition to the benefit of a fixed revenue stream, the local community benefits from a requirement that at least 80% of the workers employed for construction and operation of a solar facility reside in Ohio. Further, in order to qualify for the PILOT, a solar facility developer must guarantee to make certain road repairs, train and equip fire and emergency personnel for responding to emergencies at the facility, and partner with a state university or apprenticeship program for training in the renewable energy industry.
How long will the solar facility be operational?
The average life of a solar facility is approximately 30-40 years, but with proper maintenance, it can last longer.
Who will maintain the property and vegetation?
Union Ridge will be responsible for maintaining the Union Ridge Solar facility property. We work diligently with consultants and local stakeholders to ensure proper ground cover, erosion and sediment control, and stormwater management. We also implement vegetation management plans and best management practices to promote the establishment of native vegetation and the proper mitigation of overgrowth and invasive plant species. As part of the development process, the OPSB will review and approve our vegetation management plan.
How will the solar facility proactively address health and safety concerns?
Safety is our number one priority. We manage our projects with the utmost regard for safety, sustainability, and long-term impacts. Extensive employee and contractor training are required to meet our safety program standards, and our entire team, starting with our executives, makes a daily commitment to a safe work environment.
As part of the Project’s OPSB application, Union Ridge will submit a preliminary plan for review that will address proposed safety measures. Union Ridge’s design will include setbacks for safety, access roads sized to accommodate emergency management vehicles, and sufficient turnaround space for these vehicles. As an added safety precaution, an Emergency Response Action Plan (ERAP) will be shared with local authorities.
Through careful engineering design and strict adherence to safety standards, solar projects pose a minimal health and safety risk.
What happens at the end of the project’s life?
At the end of the life of the Project, Union Ridge will be responsible for removing equipment and restoring the site to its original use. As part of the OPSB review process, staff will review Union Ridge’s proposed decommissioning plan to ensure that ample consideration and protections will be provided.
How will development of the solar facility affect my community?
Construction will bring new employment opportunities, a large direct investment in the community, and local business generated from the purchase of food, fuel, accommodations, and other local supplies. 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 its life, the Project will not burden Licking County services and utilities; however, it will contribute substantial revenue to local tax authority and provide clean energy to the greater Ohio area.
If you wish to speak to a member of our staff prior to the public information meetings, please contact us at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 321-2540.