Percentage of Farmland that may be Solar

The anti-solar folks claim that only 22% of Mason County is “prime farmland”, but fail to define “prime farmland.” What we know is that most landowners think they own “prime farmland.”

When we consider more objective sources such as the Property Valuation Administrator’s office, Mason County has 150,712 acres classified as farmland.

Because of the Ohio and Licking Rivers, most farms are ridges with steeper side slopes. Few farms consist entirely of what the USDA calls class I sloped ground, like ones found in the corn belt’s heart.

Because Solar farms do not require a perfectly level site, it seems appropriate to compare potential solar acreage and Mason County’s farmland acres.

Let’s compare various amounts of Solar to Mason County’s 158,712 acres of farmland.

Percent of
Real estate Property
Tax Increase to local
Tax Districts
over 30 years
6,0004.0 %$14,000,000
10,0006.6 %$23,000,000
12,0008.0 %$28,000,000
Based on 150,712 Acres of Mason County Farm land
See detailed explanation of calculations

Notice that as solar farms increase from our original estimate of 5,000 acres to 9,000 or even 10,000 acres the percentage of Mason County farmland dedicated to Solar only reaches 6.6%. At 12,000 acres we will only establish solar’s sod on only 8% of Mason County farmland.

This changing estimate of possible Solar acreage proves the wisdom of adopting zoning regulations that think long term rather than for a few current projects. Research shows that each well-regulated solar acre can help Mason County’s future. We as a community should embrace this opportunity and adopt “weel-regulated” solar so we can help our:

  1. local economy
  2. local environment
  3. national environment
  4. provide property tax revenue to support local tax districts