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South Shenango solar project approved

Meadville Tribune

Jan. 13—SOUTH SHENANGO TOWNSHIP — A proposed $25 million solar power electrical generation plant has been given the go-ahead by South Shenango Township Board of Supervisors.

A conditional use permit for Welcome Solar II LLC of Pleasanton, California, was approved unanimously with conditions by township supervisors at their monthly public meeting Tuesday afternoon. The vote came following a one-hour executive session.

Those conditions will include such things as a safety plan for the facility as well as a formal land development plan, Alan Shaddinger, the township's attorney, said following the vote.

Supervisor Chairman Joe Livingston told the Tribune that the safety plan will need to be drafted in conjunction with area volunteer fire departments.

"We are pleased with the township supervisors' decision to approve the conditional use and are excited to move forward," Jon Beckman of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, the firm's attorney for the project, said in a statement to the Tribune.

Beckman said he was uncertain when construction would start and deferred the question to Linhu Su, Welcome Solar's president. Su was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

Welcome Solar plans to build a 19.9 megawatt electrical generation facility on land between Hartstown and Jamestown. The site, near the intersection of Deezik and Dumars road, is about 3 miles southwest of Hartstown and about 4 miles northeast of Jamestown.

A conditional use permit is needed because the site is located within an agricultural district. Under South Shenango Township's zoning code, a solar power generation station is permitted within an agricultural district as a conditional use. A conditional use public hearing on the project was held in December at the township building.

The project will generate electricity using solar PV — or photovoltaic — technology which converts sunlight into electrical energy, according to its conditional use application.

At 19.9 megawatts, the project will generate enough electricity to power the electrical needs of 3,781 homes based on the Solar Energy Industries Association's estimate of 1 megawatt of solar energy powering electricity to 190 homes.

Welcome Solar has a land lease option agreement for approximately 168 acres with James J. Potase Jr., the land's owner, according to documents filed with the township.

The electricity generated will be transmitted to the nearby existing 69 kilovolt electrical transmission line via a substation to be built along Dumars Road, according to the application. In addition to solar panels, the site would have inverter equipment to convert direct electrical current to alternating current to be transmitted to the electrical substation.

Construction of necessary facilities to connect to the transmission line is estimated to take nine months to complete, according to the application.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at


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