Home News Ohio Power Sitting Board Adopts New Rules for Solar Energy Facilities

Ohio Power Sitting Board Adopts New Rules for Solar Energy Facilities


COLUMBUS, OHIO (July 20, 2023) – The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) today adopted new rules in Ohio Administrative Code Chapters 4906-1 through 4906-7. The rules are subject to the OPSB rehearing process before being submitted to the Ohio Legislature’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review for final review before taking effect.

The OPSB initiated a comprehensive rule review in 2020. The rule review began with a series of stakeholder meetings where the OPSB gathered feedback from a wide range of interests. In 2021, the OPSB held three public workshops to collect additional input. Following the workshops, the OPSB and its staff evaluated the input received, and the OPSB published recommended changes subject to formal comment. Written comments and reply comments were filed by more than 20 formal parties, and an additional 400 informal public comments were submitted.

The updated rules touch on all areas of OPSB jurisdiction and process but are of special interest to Ohioans and industry stakeholders affected by the development of solar energy projects. Among other changes, the updated rules adopted today require:

  • Public information: Siting project applicants must host two public informational meetings for each standard certificate application. The first meeting will describe the scope of the project. The second meeting, held at least 90 days before an application filing, will focus on the specifics of the application.
  • Site grading: Applicants must provide a preliminary grading plan that describes maximum graded acreage expectations.
  • Drainage and field tile: Applicants must describe and map field drainage systems and demonstrate how impacts to those systems will be avoided or mitigated, describe how damaged drainage systems including field tile mains and laterals will promptly be repaired to restore original drainage conditions and describe the data sources and methods used to obtain information for field drainage system mapping.
  • Vegetation management: Applicants must prevent the establishment and spread of noxious weeds within the project, including setback areas, during construction, operation, and decommissioning. Applicants must provide annual proof of weed control for the first four years of operation with the goal of weed eradication significantly completed by year three of operation.
  • Noise: Noise limits for renewable energy facilities cannot exceed the greater of 40 decibels (dBA) or the ambient daytime and nighttime average sound level by more than 5 dBA.
  • Surface water protection: Solar energy facility applicants must develop and implement a stormwater pollution prevention plan, a spill prevention control and countermeasure plan, and a horizontal directional drilling contingency plan, to minimize and prevent potential discharges to surface waters.
  • Fencing: Solar energy facility perimeter fencing must be small-wildlife permeable and aesthetically fitting for a rural location.
  • Setbacks: Solar energy facility panel modules must be setback at least 50 feet from non‑participating parcel boundaries, at least 300 feet from non-participating residences, and at least 150 feet from the edge of the pavement of any road within or adjacent to the project area.
  • Regulatory: Compliance monitoring and reporting requirements to ensure applicants meet the commitments and conditions contained in each OPSB certificate.

Additional information, including the full text of the rules adopted today, will be made available on the OPSB website at www.OPSB.ohio.gov in the record for case number 21‑0902‑GE-BRO.