GRAFTON, Ohio — The future of the village of Grafton is now brighter, because of Project Beacon — a solar energy farm that sits on 36 acres of Grafton's newly-acquired land.
- It was installed to help reduce the cost of electricity for Grafton's 2,700 residents
- Officials expect the project will also be a natural draw for new businesses
- Officials say residents and business owners should see a significant decrease in their electric bills next month
“I remember coming in and talking to Joe, I said we need to buy this land. I’m not sure what we're going to do with it, but we'll find a great project for the village. Mayor David DiVencenzo said.
The solar farm has been installed to help reduce the electric cost for the town's 2,700 residents.
“Our goal, ultimately, if possible, and we think this project may actually fulfill that, is to provide the lowest cost electricity in any given municipality in Ohio,” Village Administrator Joe Price said.
Village administrator Joe Price says there are more than 17,000 solar panels there that generate 4 megawatts of electricity, and just as the project draws in the sun, the goal is to also bring in more economic growth to Grafton.
“We believe economic development is going to be a natural draw to us. What business would not want to come to us where they can buy electricity, a major line item in each budget, at 20% less than they could anywhere else in Ohio?” Price said.
The village flipped the switch to solar in November.
Price and DiVencenzo say going by February’s billing cycle, residents and business owners should see a significant decrease in their electric bills.
Price says that's not necessarily the most important Project Beacon benefit.
“The cost is a great factor. Everyone wants to buy the same product at a lower price, and that's what we're going to offer, but look at the green, the green footprint that we're creating, we're creating energy out of the sun, we're harvesting, we're taking agricultural land, still we’re using it for a different type of crop,” Price said.
They say Project Beacon is only phase one of the vision they have for Grafton's future.
“We’re also looking at building another solar farm that will be in campus, we believe at least 1,500 acres of land, making the possibly the single site largest site in Ohio for renewable energy.” Price said.