George Hiotis

Sun Sets On Muskingum County Solar Farm

by George Hiotis on January 19, 2011 at 3:33 am

The big solar farm that was supposed to be built next to the Wilds Animal Preserve will now not happen in Muskingum County. Whiz News has learned that the massive project, which was expected to create 300 jobs, will now be built in Noble County. Zanesville Muskingum County Port Authority Executive Director Mike Jacoby says he is disappointed at the news. Jacoby says local officials were told Friday that it has been determined from an engineering and topography standpoint and its proximity to the American Electric Power Sub-station – Noble County is the better site to work with. A-E-P is investing $20 million dollars into the creation of 250 solar panels which will produce enough energy to power 25,000 homes. It will be an almost 50 mega watt solar farm built on 500 acres of A-E-P owned strip mined land. Jacoby says the project will still benefit Muskingum County by bringing construction jobs to the region. He says the new location is just one mile east of the Muskingum County line. The new site is just off State Route 83. It will be the largest solar field east of the Rocky Mountains. Muskingum County Commissioner Brian Hill says there is still a chance that the county is in the running for some high paying manufacturing jobs associated with the project that would produce the solar panels and other items for the solar farm. When the deal was announced this past October, then Governor Ted Strickland announced plans to build the solar project on reclaimed mine land in Muskingum County next to the Wilds.