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Published: Tuesday, 6/15/2010

Wyandot County solar project finishes early

BY ALIYYA SWABY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Wyandot Solar, a solar project in Wyandot County, supplies Ohio Power Co. and Columbus Southern Power with 12 megawatts of electricity. At its finish, the site became Ohio's largest solar field. Wyandot Solar, a solar project in Wyandot County, supplies Ohio Power Co. and Columbus Southern Power with 12 megawatts of electricity. At its finish, the site became Ohio's largest solar field.
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The largest solar power field in Ohio has been completed three months early. The Wyandot Solar project near Upper Sandusky now can supply electricity for more than 1,400 homes.

Juwi Solar Inc., which built the power-generation project, announced yesterday it finished its work that began in September on an 83-acre site in Salem Township near an American Electric Power substation.

It started supplying two American Electric companies - Ohio Power Co. and Columbus Southern Power - with 12 megawatts of power on May 26.

American Electric will buy power for 20 years from PSEG Solar Source, the owner of the project.

The project was completed early because of good weather and a solid subcontractor, said Steve Ihnot, chief financial officer for Juwi Solar.

"In this case, things went better than the worst-case scenario," he said.

The solar field is one of the largest in the eastern United States and is the largest in Ohio.

Wyandot Solar comprises 159,200 modules, Mr. Ihnot said. His firm initially will operate the facility.

The project helps American Electric meet its state-required goals.

The power supplier for almost 1.5 million customers in Ohio and northern Virginia needs to generate 0.01 percent of its total energy using solar power this year, and up to 0.5 percent by 2025.

"We, too, see that renewable energy is the way of the future," said Shelly Clark, spokesman for American Electric.

"The Wyandot project allows us to reach our goal."

The Columbus utility serves 61 counties, including Wood and seven others in northwest Ohio, and generates 12,000 megawatts of power.

Wyandot County Commissioner Michael Wheeler said the project resulted in many local construction jobs, providing temporary work and experience in constructing solar energy models.

"We see when the sun shines that there are eight modular buildings, each of which has two inverters," he said. "The sunlight is doing the trick for them."

As part of its agreement with Wyandot County, Juwi Solar is building a three-kilowatt system to serve three high schools in the county - Upper Sandusky High School, Mohawk High School, and Carey High School.

The company will teach students at those schools about how the technology works, Mr. Ihnot said.

Contact Aliyya Swaby at:

aswaby@theblade.com

or 419-724-6091.



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