We have seen a boom in solar projects in Ross County. This week, the Ross County Commissioners were asked to accept a slight adjustment in the layout of one under construction north of Kennworth, and Kevin Coleman was there.
The "Salt City Solar" project is under way on both sides of the new State Route 207 Connector, at State Route 159 south of Kinnikinnick. The developer wants to move a landscape screening to the other side of the "lay-down yard," used for equipment storage, which will be restored at the end of construction.
They had to ask permission from the Ross County Commissioners for the minor change in plans, who speculated on the possibility of someone else developing the yard before the solar builder cleans it up and leaves.
Ross County Planner Devon Shoemaker says this solar farm is planned to be operational by next spring. He agrees that we have seen a boom in local solar farms, with three underway. Along with "Salt City Solar," that includes "Yellowbud Solar" on State Route 104, and a solar farm in Buckskin and Paint Townships that will probably start construction by the end of this summer.
As for a solar farm on Westfall Road near State Route 207 that was brought up in November by the potential developer, he does not know its status and has not heard of any activity.
Shoemaker says there is a high probability of more solar projects in the county, but a new state law gives the county commissioners authority to control them. Senate Bill 52 gave new authority to review solar projects.
He said more solar farms are being developed in southeast Ohio where land is cheaper...but the level land needed for them can be scarce among the hills, like a controversial new one in Jackson County.
Kevin Coleman covers local government and culture