Following an October 2010 MOU between AEP Ohio, a division of American Electric Power, and Turning Point Solar to develop a 49.9MW commercial solar facility in Noble County, Ohio, the two companies, along with New Harvest Ventures, have signed a participation agreement to continue work towards the new solar site. Plans call for the solar project to be built across 750 acres of land, which used to be a strip-mining site with construction and commercial operation completed in phases over the next three years. Construction is anticipated to begin in the summer of 2012 and finish by 2015.
“When we originally announced this project last year, we were proud to play an instrumental role in helping bring new jobs to Ohio while advancing renewable energy technologies in the Midwest,” said Joe Hamrock, president and chief operating officer for AEP Ohio. “Today, that pride continues as we move a significant step closer to bringing this project on line. Taking the lead on these types of projects not only allows AEP Ohio to meet the state's renewable energy requirements, it also benefits Ohio through new development, job creation and economic growth.”
Over 600 jobs are projected to be directly created from the development of the solar facility, which includes an agreement between Spanish-based Isofoton, which will supply solar modules for the project, to headquarter its North American manufacturing facility in Ohio, which will retain 330 employees once fully operational. It is estimated that nearly 250,000 PV panels will be needed form Isofoton for the construction of the solar plant.
AEP Ohio will invest US$20 million to develop the project, which was filed on July 1, with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio for approval. Additionally, AEP Ohio advised that it will be exclusively responsible for the operation and maintenance of the solar facility once completed.