By Kristine Rohwer

June 17, 2021

The future of solar is here, and it is no surprise that the landscape of solar is extending beyond just our coasts. What is interesting is that our Midwestern regions are picking up steam on creating solar farms and harvesting renewable energy. States like Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio are now on the brink of large-scale solar farms. Like any change, not all is accepted; however, we dive into why these Midwestern states are on the verge of solar change.

Pulaski County, located in Indiana will soon be home to the nation’s largest solar farm, fittingly titled Mammoth Project. This large-scale solar farm is estimated to be a 1.3 gigawatt – spanning 12,000 acres of flat farmland.  In addition, another project proposal for Pulaski County would boast a 200 MW solar farm, adding to the county’s huge investment in renewable energy production. So, what is it about this northwest county that attracts major solar developers? Pulaksi County’s close proximity to two wholesale power grids, the abundance of flat farmland, and the high demand are just a few of the driving forces behind a once coal-reliant state going solar.

Linn County, located in Iowa, is currently discussing, and accepting feedback on a recent solar farm project proposal.  This three-phase project will have the capacity of up to 690 megawatts of renewable energy on 3,500 acres of land.  Why this location? The Duane Arnold Energy Center, which once resided in Linn County, closed in October 2020.  The land the center once operated on, is now considered ideal real estate for large-scale solar farms.

Finally, Brown County, Ohio. Home of the Hillcrest project a 200-megawatt this will be one of the first utility-scale solar projects to pass the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) permitting process. This large-scale solar farm is located adjacent to a point in the regional transmission system, and again possesses the abundance of flat farmland.

The Midwestern state solar boom seems to all stem from the same scenarios, proximity to power grids and bountiful flat farmland.  As the cost of solar continues to decline, we may find this new Midwest trend to be the new normal.