Solar field to revitalize Overland Industrial Park neighborhoods

Published: Jan. 28, 2020 at 2:28 PM EST
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It is the final piece of the puzzle in redeveloping the former Jeep site at Overland Industrial Park. The Great Toledo Community Foundation teamed up with 12 other organizations to build a solar field on 12 acres of floodplain.

The idea for the project started more than two years ago, and today the solar field is finally taking shape.

"This is undevelopable land and we are using it as a way to create money for the next 25 years," says Keith Burwell, President and CEO of the Greater Toledo Community Foundation.

Burwell says after multiple studies they found that by mounting panels much higher than normal, they can use the floodplain land to create solar energy. The nearby Dana Driveline plant will buy the power to fuel the daily operations and the revenue will then be used to fund grants for the surrounding neighborhoods.

Burwell considers this a win-win for the area. Dana is able to use solar energy and many of the low-income neighborhoods that are struggling have a chance at revitalization.

The grants will be unrestricted, meaning the revenue can be used to fund everything from workforce development, aimed at finding people in area jobs, to home improvement projects.

The project will feature 22,000 solar panels with a total cost of nearly $8 million. Nearly half of the project cost was donated by more than 12 businesses. As for revenue, Burwell estimates that in the first year the panels will create $300,000 in revenue and that will increase to $500,000 in subsequent years.

The installation of the panels is happening now and you can see the progress off I-75 north. The project is expected to be completed and go live in April.