DIXON – A solar farm company has its sights set on the Dixon Municipal Airport, but the city wants more information before putting a shine on the proposal.
California-based Cenergy Power wants to build two 10-acre solar farms at the airport and enter into a 21-year lease for the land, paying the city $2,000 per acre each year.
Using extra land at the airport for a solar farm was included in a list of recommendations the city received more than a year ago following a feasibility study geared toward making operations more sustainable at the facility.
Solar farms are becoming more common at airports because the panels aren’t tall enough to obstruct flight traffic, and it’s a way to generate additional revenue with little expense to the airport owner, which is the city.
“Cenergy has been in business for over 10 years and has solar sites in nine states, and several sites are currently in the works in Illinois,” Public Works Director Matt Heckman said.
The company is looking to line up solar farm projects in Northern Illinois and pursue incentives from the Illinois Power Agency this summer.
The proposed sites would be 10 acres south of the airport near the railroad tracks and 10 acres northeast of the airport off of state Route 38.
City Manager Danny Langloss said the northeast portion could harm the aesthetics in that area, and the council agreed.
Mayor Li Arellano Jr. said it could be a progressive project with minimal work for the city, but they need to decide whether they want to commit the land to a longterm lease.
“I don’t like tying up our property for 20 years,” Councilman Dennis Considine said.
Councilmen Mike Venier and Ryan Marshall said they would need to do more research before making a decision, and Councilman Kevin Marx wants to see whether they could do more south of the airport rather than near the main road.
The city plans to have a contract drawn up before moving further.
The company would need to enter into an agreement with ComEd to connect to its power grid and would aim to sell the power at 4.5 cents or less per kilowatt hour, according to the proposal.
The city would need to draft a new airport layout plan with the Federal Aviation Administration that would declare the acreage as excess land before a longterm lease can be made for a solar farm.
The City Council next meets at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at City Hall, 121 W. Second St.
Go to discoverdixon.org or call City Hall at 815-288-1485 for an agenda or more information.