A solar facility planned for the area north of Dunkirk can move forward.

Jay County Plan Commission on Thursday approved the revised development plans for Leeward Renewable Energy’s Rose Gold Solar.

Kelly Inns of Leeward, which is based in Dallas, explained to plan commission members that supply chain issues had an impact on the company’s initial plans. It will be using panels that are slightly less efficient, thus they need more panels — and thus more land — to accommodate the 150 megawatt solar facility.

The revised development plan — the original was approved in September 2021 — includes 90 additional acres, bringing the total project area to 1,430 acres. (The bulk of the new project area is on the west side of county road 1100 West, north of county road 150 South.) About 38% of that space will be covered in solar panels.

The other change in the plan involves the placement of the project substation and its operations and management building, which was moved to an area with better drainage.

Inns noted Thursday that the updated development plan still meets all of the county ordinance requirements. She said a new study of the impact of sound and glare was completed and showed no issues with glare on residences or roads and sound levels to be below the 50-decibel limit set out by the ordinance. The road use, decommissioning and economic development agreements that have already been approved are still valid.

The only member of the public to comment Thursday was from Joe Gutshall, who lives on county road 1100 West in the area of the project. He raised several concerns, including taking farm ground out of production and the facility being a barrier to wildlife, and questioned the effectiveness of solar power. He also said he doesn’t want to see a barn in the project area torn down because it was built by his grandfather, and that if it is torn down he’d like to have the wood that bears his grandfather’s name and the date of construction.

Leeward representatives acknowledged that they are talking with the owner of the property about the possibility of tearing down some structures.

Plan commission members suggested that Gutshall contact the property owner about the possibility of getting the pieces he wants if the barn is torn down.

They had just a few questions about road usage — the plans updates don’t call for any additional roads to be used during the construction process — and the efficiency of the panels.

Plan commission members Scott Hilfiker, Steve Ford, Matt Minnich, Chad Aker and Dru Mercer unanimously approved the updated plans. (Brad Daniels, Adam Westgerdes and Michelle Penrod were absent from the meeting.)

Rose Gold is estimated at a $150 million construction project. It is expected to generate nearly $42 million in property taxes over its 35-year life, and Leeward has signed an agreement to provide $1.95 million in economic development funds over a four-year period.

Construction is expected to begin this year, with the facility to be operational sometime in 2023.

Rose Gold is one of three large-scale solar projects currently being pursued in Jay County.

Scout Clean Energy, a Colorado company that owns and operates Bitter Ridge Wind Farm in southwest Jay County, is planning Sun Chief Solar in a similar area. It is a $100 million project for a 100-megawatt facility on about 1,200 acres.

Invenergy, a Chicago-based company, has plans for a $150 million, 155-megawatt solar facility on about 2,500 acres in Penn and Jackson townships.