Bill Gates farm in Ohio could become giant Savion solar farm

This tree-lined driveway, off of State Route 38, once led what appears to be an abandoned home site is part of the Madison County farmland owned by Microsoft founder Bill Gates that might become part of a solar farm. The actual owner of the farm is a company called Midwest Farms, owner of about 6,300 acres of farmland in Union, Deer Creek, Monroe and Somerford townships.

A 6,300-acre farm owned by Bill Gates in Madison County could become the site of one of the nation's largest solar farms.

Renewable energy company Savion has an option to buy the property for what is being called Oak Run Solar Project, according to Madison County property records. The option expires Oct. 31, 2024.

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The project is in its early days. How big it would be, how much it would cost, when it would be built and whether Savion will even proceed are decisions that have to be made. Savion has yet to seek approval from state regulators.

Savion, based in Kansas City, Missouri, wouldn't comment specifically on Oak Run, but did talk broadly about its work in Madison County.

"At this time, we are in the very initial stages of researching additional utility-scale projects in Madison County," Savion said in an email. "Because those efforts are at an early stage of evaluation, we do not have further details at this time."

Creeks converge on Madison County farmland along State Route 29 owned by Microsoft founder Bill Gates that might become part of a solar farm.

The prospect of such a project and its potential size intrigues county economic development officials who see utility-sized solar as a way to bring millions of dollars into the county and draw companies that are demanding their operations be powered by renewable energy.

"It has the potential to become the largest solar farm in the United States," said Rob Slane, the Madison County administrator. "We feel that puts us on the map.’’ 

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