Cincinnati Goes BIG in Solar
2020 was a big year for solar energy in the city. Cincinnati executed a power purchase agreement to facilitate the construction of 100 megawatts of solar power across 1000 acres of land using 310,000 solar panels. At the time of its announcement it was the largest municipally-led solar array in the country. The array will be constructed 40 miles east of Cincinnati in Highland County Ohio, will break ground in February, and begin producing electricity in December of 2021. Just how big is this array? 100 megawatts of solar produces enough electricity for 24,000 homes and abates 143,000 tons of CO2 or the equivalent of removing 31,000 cars from the road.
The array will serve two separate customers- 1) City Government Operations and, 2) through the Cincinnati Electric Aggregation Program, City residents. All of this was done with no upfront cost to the City The contracting model developed for this solar program has spurred an additional 1000 megawatts of solar development from other municipal governments across Ohio.
For City government, the first 35 megawatts of the array will provide 25% of the electricity consumed by Greater Cincinnati Waterworks, MSD, Police, Fire and all other City Departments over the course of a year. When the array is producing at night City Government will still be utilizing grid power. However, on sunny days in the summer, the array will produce as much energy as City government is consuming at that time, letting us run 100% off solar energy during that time.