MILLER CITY/COLUMBUS — The creation of an expansive solar farm in the Miller City area is one step closer to fruition following a decision in Columbus late last week. From their offices on Thursday, the Ohio Power Siting board approved an application from Avangrid Renewables for its Powell Creek Solar project.

Situated on both sides of State Route 108 and within the confines of Palmer and Liberty Townships — primarily just south and east of Miller City — the project in its totality encompasses over 2,000 acres, 1,000 acres of which will accommodate the solar panels themselves. The remainder of the parcels will, according to Avangrid’s website, house “associated facilities such as access roads, an operations and maintenance building, weather stations, electric collection lines, inverters and transformers, a substation, laydown yards, a 138 kilovolt generation interconnection transmission line and a substation.”
With a direct investment of $150 million, the company estimates the site will generate enough electricity to serve 30,000 homes per year.
And then there are the financial benefits for the area. The project promises significant returns, both in reduced environmental impact and in financial boons for the Village of Miller City, the Miller City-New Cleveland School District, a host of county agencies, and the general fund of the county itself. Over the course of the project’s estimated 30-year lifespan, Avangrid and the county board of commissioners anticipate property tax revenues exceeding $5 million. Income tax revenues, according to Commissioner John Schlumbohm, will kick in an estimated average of $330,000 per year over the next 30 years.
In addition, the Village of Miller City will receive what Avangrid calls “annual impact payments,” payments which, based on previous conversations held with the Putnam County Board of Health, will assist with the construction of a new wastewater system.
“We’re looking forward to them joining the community and carrying some of the burden of the local taxpayers,” Commissioner Mike Lammers said. “From everything I’ve heard, it appears to be very popular with the local community.”
While this most recent approval is a significant step, actual construction at the site won’t begin until some time in 2022 — likely in the fall, according to the commissioners — with electrical generation, and the associated economic boon, coming into play nearly one year later, in fall of 2023.