Second solar energy project proposed for Greene County


YELLOW SPRINGS — Vesper Energy — a Texas-based renewable energy company — is trying a second time to develop a solar power farm for Greene County.

Last year, Vesper Energy attempted to develop a 175 MW, 1,200-acre solar development project in Greene County but was denied due to a lack of public interest, convenience, and necessity. The Ohio Power Siting Board denied the application in late 2022, and the Ohio Supreme Court dismissed Vesper Energy’s appeal in 2023.

In the wake of the failed attempt, the company aims to create a new proposal for solar development and began in Miami Township. This new plan — the Aviation Energy Center — was presented by Vesper Energy’s development manager Hannah Larkin and community affairs manager Lindsey Workman at a recent Miami Township meeting.

Vesper is attempting to reconfigure a solar development project more in line with what the community would accept. Larkin and Workman presented the early ideas for the project, specifically noting the importance of community support as they move forward.

“Our goal for this project is to design it in collaboration with our community partners,” said Larkin.

Larkin said the company is looking for feedback on “everything about this project,” including infrastructure and design considerations. The exact size of this project is also to be determined.

Residents voiced both support and concern with the project, with much of the two-hour conversation centered around individual land ownership and using good agricultural soil.

Larkin said that while the project is open to using brownfield sites and areas with sub-optimal soil, these sites are typically too small to build a solar project to the scale that they’re looking for, up to 175 MW.

Supporters of the project said that they like the idea of enforced setbacks from the road and lowering the cost of electricity for everyone. Solar energy also helps combat climate change, said residents.

Larkin said the company has been “engaging with the community for the last year,” and noted that setbacks were a top priority. Because of this, Larkin said the Aviation Energy Center will have 300-foot setbacks from roads wherever Vesper can build.

This meeting was preliminary and exact plans have not yet been submitted for approval. Based on the group of approximately 30, most residents seemed open to the idea of a solar project in Greene County so long as Vesper Energy is willing to make the necessary sacrifices, like implementing setbacks and decreasing the scale of the project in some aspects.

Contact Ethan Charles at 937-502-4532.

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