Frasier Solar will feature grazing space for sheep.

Anti-solar activists used to spreading disinformation to supportive audiences expressed dismay Thursday as solar supporters presented their case for the 800-acre Frasier project in Knox County, Ohio.

“For the first hour and a half there was literally 1 opponent- Barry Lester,” one commenter on the Knox Smart Development Facebook page said. “How did this happen? Did Frasier know from experience that they needed to stack the first part? Were they in line at 3pm to sign up to speak? Obviously, many people would need to leave before midnight and I think the panel heard all these proponents voices first, and people started leaving by the time opponents got to speak.”

“I hope it went better the later half than when I was there,” another commenter said. “I just could not stand anymore of the ‘other’ side!!”

Opponents in the hearing wore matching yellow T-shirts that made look like a mass of Post-It Notes, leading one solar support to dub them the “Post-It Note Posse.”

Thursday’s hearing before the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) enabled Frasier Solar developers to match up with opponents in a neutral setting. Forums of opponents in November and February were organized by Knox Smart Development, the opposition front group closely aligned with Ariel Corp., a producer of compressors used to produce natural gas.

Checks & Balances Project reported in February on the multiple ties between Ariel and Smart Development:

Recent solar wins

Thursday’s hearing followed the OPSB decision in March to approve the Oak Run Solar project in Madison County, east of Columbus. The 800 MW project with 300 MW of storage will be the largest solar project in Ohio when it’s completed.

Oak Run will incorporate agricultural projects inside the solar farm, including sheep grazing. Fraser Solar also plans to use sheep to graze and keep the grass around the solar panels from growing too high. These “agrivoltaics” projects counter claims by solar opponents that these projects take land from productive agricultural uses.

“The Oak Run victory is a glimpse of hope that the tide is turning in Ohio,” wrote agrivoltaics expert Gary Houser in a column in Ohio Capitol Journal.

Ray Locker is the executive director for Checks & Balances Project, an investigative watchdog blog holding government officials, lobbyists, and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP is provided by Renew American Prosperity and individual donors.

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