According to AEP Ohio, a unit of American Electric Power, they have entered into a participation agreement with Turning Point Solar LLC—a joint venture of Agile Energy Inc. and New Harvest Ventures—to develop one of the largest solar generating facilities east of the Mississippi River. More than 600 direct jobs are expected to be created, including around 300 during the construction and installation phase.
AEP Ohio plans to invest $20 million in the development of the 49.9-megawatt (MW) commercial solar structure which will be located 20 miles southeast of Zanesville on approximately 750 acres of reclaimed land. The project will be phased in over three years with production expected to begin in the summer of 2012 and finish in 2015. Once built, AEP Ohio will be solely responsible for the facility’s operation and maintenance.
AEP Ohio provides electricity to nearly 1.5 million customers of major AEP subsidiaries. American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. It also ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the country.
“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.”
Isofoton, a leading Spanish-based solar energy technology company, will supply solar modules for the Turning Point Solar development. As part of the project moving forward, the company has agreed to base its North American manufacturing facility in Ohio, and projects the facility will employ up to 330 when fully operational. Approximately 250,000 photovoltaic panels will be needed to build the plant.
Ohio Substitute Senate Bill 221 requires that AEP Ohio supply 0.06 percent of its load in 2012 with generation from solar resources, 0.09 percent in 2013, and 0.12 percent in 2014. The benchmark requirements ramp up annually to a total of 0.5 percent by the end of 2024. AEP Ohio already has met the benchmarks set for 2010 and 2011 through its long-term purchase power agreement for solar energy from the 10.08-MW Wyandot Solar facility in Upper Sandusky, Ohio.