CEDARVILLE TOWNSHIP — A solar farm could be coming to some rural farm land in Greene County and residents are offering a plethora of push back.
Australian-based Lendlease along with Louisiana-based Faulk and Foster have acquired nearly 1,500 acres of land and just need easements for electrical lines from two property owners to install an industrial-scale solar photovoltaic field — called the Kingswood Solar Project — in Cedarville, Miami and Xenia townships.
Say No to Solar Farms in Cedarville, a Facebook group, is hoping to educate residents about what members see as a negative for those communities.
“The majority of the people that are against it are not anti-solar,” said Joe Krajicek, who declined leasing his 47 acres to Faulk and Foster. “We’re pro-solar. There’s several people in the group who have solar panels. This is a different environment. This is industrial. Its motivation is by the dollars they can make off the acquisitions, the leases, and the sale of the solar fields to a third party.”
The leases would be for between 30-35 years, Krajicek said, and owners are reportedly being paid $1,000 per acre while current rates are around $200.
“It’s all about the money,” he said. “We don’t think they’re a good fit for the area. You’re right along the 4-H Camp Clifton. You’re right along the Glen Helen.”
If the plan is ultimately approved, the local landowners would see little benefit, Krajicek said.
“It goes on the main line, and basically it goes to whoever is in demand,” he said. “The demand is toward the East. Whoever’s going to pay the most for it.”
The group is planning a 6 p.m. informational meeting Friday, May 10 at Grace Baptist Church in Cedarville. A second meeting — which will include solar panel experts and some environmentalists — is planned for June.
If Faulk and Foster and Lendlease are able to obtain the needed easements, they would need to make an application to the Ohio Power Sitting Board, which would hold a public forum and accept comments. Because of the large size, local zoning codes are not part of the equation.
According to Krajicek it could take a year or longer before the case is decided.
The group is hoping to make sure the developers understand their plan is not welcomed before that happens.
“We’re hoping, if it gets that far, they’ll say it’s not worth it,” he said.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.