The second largest utility-scale solar plant east of the Mississippi River opened Thursday and is now generating enough electricity to power an estimated 1,500 homes in north-central Ohio. The 12MW Wyandot Solar Farm uses 160,000 thin-film solar panels set on 84-acres of former farmland.
The panels were produced by First Solar at its Perrysburg, Ohio, manufacturing plant, which was recently expanded.
The thin-film technology is cheaper to produce than silicon-crystal based photovoltaic panels, but is less efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. PSEG Solar Source, the Newark, NJ-based company that owns the solar plant, decided the trade-off was worthwhile, according to spokesman, Curt Judy.
“The thin-film technology is also very well suited at capturing lower radiance or low sunlight which we tend to see in the winter months,” Judy told local television station NBC channel 4 out of Columbus.
Ohio’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires utilities to obtain a minimum of 12.5 percent of electrical generation from renewable sources, including solar, by 2025.