DP&L to build 7-acre solar power array in Washington Twp…

WASHINGTON TWP., Montgomery County — Construction on what will be the largest solar power array in Southwest Ohio has begun in Washington Twp., the Dayton Power & Light Co. said Wednesday Dec. 16

The 1.1 megawatt array on seven acres near the utility’s Yankee substation will be on line in March 2010. The facility will have 9,000 solar panels and will generate enough electricity to power nearly 150 homes.

The project is expected to cost approximately $5 million, the utility said. Although the test project is relatively small compared to other such facilities nationwide, it could be the first of many here.

The array is on a 50-acre property the utility owns on Yankee Street, across from Yankee Trace Golf Course. It is just behind the historic farm house of Brig. Gen. Edmund Munger, one of the township’s first settlers.

“This is one of our efforts to diversify our generation portfolio and support our compliance with Ohio’s renewable energy requirements,” said Paul Barbas, DP&L president and CEO. “We will be learning from these installations, testing optimum configurations and studying the long-term impact solar could have in our area.”

By 2025, DP&L has a state-mandated target to generate 0.5 percent of its electricity from solar. It’s a myth that Ohio lacks the necessary year-round sunshine to make solar energy practical here, advocates have said.

“Ohio has a better solar resource than the entire country of Germany, and Germany leads the world in solar energy production,” said Athan Barkoukis of Green Energy Ohio, a statewide nonprofit advocate for renewable energy. “If they can do it, why can’t we?”