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Despite permit denial, Vesper Energy isn't giving up on plans to build a solar farm in Greene County

Panels designed with a special coating to prevent glare at the Hillcrest Solar Farm in Brown County
Chris Welter
Panels designed with a special coating to prevent glare at the Hillcrest Solar Farm in Brown County

An application was denied by the Ohio Power Siting Boardfor a permit to construct a utility scale solar project in Greene County last week. Now, the company that filed the permit, Vesper Energy , said in a statement to WYSO on Friday, December 16 that it will challenge that ruling to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Vesper Energy's Vice President and Chief Development Officer Juan Suarez:

Yesterday, the Ohio Power Siting Board denied Kingwood Solar’s permit application in Greene County.  We, at Vesper Energy, are disappointed.  We have worked hard to bring a clean energy project to Ohio and have committed to being a good partner with the local communities. We’ve complied with every statute and requirement in the state of Ohio.  We reached out to the residents, the community, and local jurisdictions to develop the project to address all concerns by exceeding setbacks and eliminating large portions of the project to avoid residential areas.  Unfortunately, the voices of the few were heard over the voices of the majority, who support the project bringing renewable energy to the region and providing economic investment in the community. We plan to challenge the ruling to the Ohio Supreme Court and are considering a new application for a smaller project to reengage all stakeholders in a productive dialog.

Local governments in the Kingwood solar project area unanimously opposed it. Last week, a power siting board spokesperson said that governmental opposition – and a large number of public comments against the project – is why the state board rejected it.

The proposed Kingwood Solar project would cover hundreds of acres of private farmland in Xenia, Cedarville, and Miami Townships. Kingwood would produce enough clean energy to power tens of thousands of homes annually.

Chris Welter is a reporter and corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

Chris Welter is the Managing Editor at The Eichelberger Center for Community Voices at WYSO.

Chris got his start in radio in 2017 when he completed a six-month training at the Center for Community Voices. Most recently, he worked as a substitute host and the Environment Reporter at WYSO.
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