On Nov. 21, the City of Cincinnati released details of a plan to build the largest municipal solar array in the United States—a 100 megawatt (MW) solar installation.
The project will be installed approximately 40 miles east of the downtown area. The combined 100 MW solar array will take up approximately 1,000 acres—the equivalent of about 750 football fields—and will contain more than 310,000 solar panels.
The project will be able to provide enough electricity to power 25,000 homes every day. According to Mayor John Cranley, the project will help transition up to 30% of the City’s power from fossil fuel to renewables.
“Cities need to take action and that is exactly what Cincinnati is doing,” the mayor said. “We are spending money we would already spend on power to buy lower-cost renewable energy that also benefits the community.”
The contract is a power purchase agreement, meaning that the City will not pay any upfront costs toward the actual construction of the project. The contact will also enable the City to purchase electricity at a fixed rate for the 20 years of the contract.
The project, in conjunction with IBEW Local 212 and Cincinnati State Technical & Community College, will implement a workforce skill and hiring program to provide qualified individuals to build the project.
Phase I, consisting of 35 MW, is expected to be in service by December 2020. Phase II, consisting of the remaining 65 MW, is expected to be in service by December 2021.