City of Cincinnati to build largest municipal solar array in nation, Cranley says

City of Cincinnati to build largest municipal solar array in nation, Cranley says
City of Cincinnati will soon draw power from the nation's largest municipal solar array. (Source: NBC12)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley announced what he calls the largest municipal solar array in the country at a press event Thursday afternoon.

“Cities need to take action—and that’s exactly what Cincinnati is doing. We are spending money we would already spend on power to buy lower-cost renewable energy that also benefits the community,” Cranley said.

Once complete, according to a release from the city, the 100-megawatt solar farm will provide renewable energy to all city facilities and serve city residents through the Cincinnati Electric Aggregation Program, reducing the region’s annual carbon emissions by 158,000 tons.

The solar farm will be installed 40 miles east of downtown Cincinnati in Highland County, the city says.

At 1,000 acres in size—the equivalent of 750 football fields, according to the city—it will contain more than 310,000 solar panels, enough to power 25,000 homes every day.

The city says the energy produced by the solar array is the yearly equivalent of keeping 157 million pounds of coal in the ground, removing 30,000 cars from the road or planting 2.4 million trees.

The project’s construction will rely on a workforce hiring program from Cincinnati State and IBEW Local 212, the city says, giving jobs to city residents.

The city claims it will not pay any upfront costs toward the construction of the solar farm. The actual contract is a power purchase agreement, where the city will purchase electricity at a fixed rate for 20 years.

“Cincinnati is a bright spot for clean energy, not only in Ohio, but among cities across the country that are leading the way to a more sustainable future,” Ohio’s NRDC Energy Policy Director Daniel Sawmiller said. “Today’s announcement of a significant city-led solar energy development creates a crucial economic opportunity for Ohio and sets a new bar for cities that have committed to 100 percent renewable energy across the country.”

The project was achieved through support from the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge, a two-year acceleration program that helps cities beat carbon-reduction goals.

Cincinnati was one of 25 cities chosen in October 2018.

“Cincinnati was selected as a winner in the American Cities Climate Challenge because of Mayor Cranley’s commitment to ambitious and impactful climate solutions—solutions which not only reduce carbon emissions, but also protect public health and create jobs,” Bloomberg Philanthropies Head of Environmental Programs Antha Williams said. “This offsite renewable deal is the latest example of Cincinnati’s ambition turned into achievement.

“Cincinnati is showing how cities are leading the way to our clean energy future and paving the way for others in the region to follow suit.”

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