Noble Co. Solar Panel Project Awaiting PUCO Approval

By
Seaira Christian-Daniels

Dateline
Updated Fri, Feb 10, 2012 10:17 am

A new $16 million solar panel project is one step away from providing tax-free income for Noble County and creating more than 100 new jobs.

Noble County Commissioner Bob Nau says the project is awaiting final approval from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
 
Nau says more than 65 percent of the revenue generated from this project will benefit the Noble County School System, because money used from the project will not be subtracted from regular funding totals.
 
"The schools will benefit because they won't take money from the other end at the state level. If it was a regular tax, say, 100,000, the state would take 100,000 from the other end. But the way this is, they'll get to use the money 100 percent and won't be penalized by the state," explained Nau.
 
Nau says the project will be finished in 2014 and will initially create construction jobs.
 
Once completed, about a dozen maintenance jobs will be needed for the panel's operation. 
 
Nau says Noble County is providing hundreds of acres of flat, unused coal land needed to complete to the project. 
 
American Electric Power owns the rights to that old coal mining land and an existing electric line, "Big Musky". AEP is partnering with Spanish-based Isofoton on the project.  According to a press release from the Ohio Department of Development, using the existing electric line will help the companies avoid building a new line.
 
AEP will use the line to connect the solar panel to their main power grid which serves the eastern half of the United States.
    
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