By Sarah Moser, Senior Development Manager at Savion
As one of the largest utility-scale solar and energy storage development companies in the US, Savion is determined to be a good neighbor and meet the unique needs of its project communities. The solar power systems we develop provide many benefits to a local community, including generating higher tax revenues that can be used to support funds for improvements to local schools, roads, emergency services, infrastructure, and more. They also create local jobs and promote economic development opportunities that have a positive impact on local businesses and supply chains.
During the development phase for each solar project, many neighboring homeowners have expressed an interest in taking advantage of the low cost of solar energy. However, they cannot be integrated directly into the projects. In close partnership with OGW Energy Resources (OGW), our team has investigated ways to meet this requirement. Earlier this year we launched an innovative new program to bring home solar energy to the neighbors of some of Savion Ohio’s utility-scale solar projects.
The Atlanta Farms solar project in Pickaway County, Ohio is the first where we have been able to deliver this exciting, value-adding opportunity. Nine residential buildings adjoining the project are currently working with Savion and OGW. Installation is planned for spring 2021. Similar to other nonprofits, these residential solar systems are subject to project approval and completion, which is expected in early 2021.
To achieve this goal, Savion and the residential solar partner, OGW, met with the project’s neighbors to discuss the interest, need, eligibility and ability to add residential solar energy to their home or property. Eligibility depends on a variety of factors including proximity to the project, the direction of view of facilities, the visual vegetation and buffers that can naturally affect the field of view, as well as the specific needs in a community, the size of the project, and the Number of houses affected. Savion provides the budget for OGW to ensure the house or property is ready to be installed, make any necessary repairs or improvements to the structure, and then complete the installation. After the installation, OGW will act as the provider in the future.
Adding solar energy to neighboring homes is an innovative way to enhance the benefits of solar energy for everyone and demonstrate Savion’s commitment to the community spirit. Homeowners will see energy savings over the next 25 to 30 years while getting a better understanding of how solar works when they experience it in their own four walls. This initiative is an industry first, and while such a program may not be feasible for all communities, Savion has already committed to practice on three other projects in Ohio and hopes to use it in other communities where it is desired.