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Developer says Trotwood schools to benefit from future Dayton solar project

An aerial map view with blue shaded squares meant to highlight development area for a solar project
Courtesy of TED Renewables
Project layout for the Gem City Solar project

Montgomery County Commissioners has approved a tax abatement to help the Gem City Solar project move forward.

While the solar project won't pay traditional property taxes, the project developer will make regular payments to the county, and the biggest recipient of the money yielded from this agreement will be Trotwood-Madison City Schools.

The Gem City Solar project is a proposed 300 acre, 49.9 megawatt solar facility to be built in West Dayton.

The solar array is expected to produce enough electricity to power 13,000 homes.

“Not only will it provide clean, affordable electricity, it will enhance Dayton's legacy and identity as a clean energy leader in Ohio,” said Ian Edwards, lead developer for the Gem City Solar project.

How the tax benefit works

The company developing the project, TED Renewables, will pay the county $450,000 annually through this agreement.

Although it is an abatement, the agreement is expected to produce over $15 million in tax revenue over the lifetime of this project. Over that same amount of time, the property in its current use would bring in less than $2 million, Edwards said.

“It's really a win-win for the project community and the project itself, because the community can bank on dependable revenue across the project life. And it also creates a predictable tax burden for the project that we can then model into its operations, he said.

The tax agreement is possible through the Qualified Energy Project Tax Exemption program by the Ohio Department of Development to incentivize the development of renewable energy projects.

Edwards estimates $7 million over the course of the project life will go towards the Trotwood-Madison City School District.

Other key highlights of the agreement include requirements that

  • at least 70% of the construction workers for the project have to be Ohio residents,
  • and project developers have to create a partnership with a local university for workforce training.

What's next

The city of Dayton has already permitted the project to move forward.

Construction will begin in 2025, and project partners expect it to be operational in 2026.

Next steps include project financing and identifying a utility or energy supplier to purchase the generated power, Edwards said.

Adriana Martinez-Smiley (she/they) is the Environment and Indigenous Affairs Reporter for WYSO. They grew up in Hamilton, Ohio and graduated from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in June 2023. Before joining WYSO, her work has been featured in NHPR, WBEZ and WTTW.

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