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Local

Is a solar farm worth the cost? Dixon City Council thinks it over

Airport would have to revise layout plan, to the tune of $300,000

DIXON – Building a solar farm at the Dixon Municipal Airport would mean having to revise the airport layout plan, which could cost about $300,000.

California-based Cenergy Power approached the city looking 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.

Last month, the City Council wanted to wait until an actual contract was drawn up before deciding whether to move forward with the project and reached a consensus that one of the proposed locations, 10 acres northeast of the airport off of state Route 38, would not be good for aesthetics.

The other site would take up 10 acres south of the airport near the railroad tracks.

The city recently received preliminary contracts to review for the potential project, which will take time to go through, Public Works Director Matt Heckman told the Dixon Airport Board Wednesday.

“It’s not something the city is going to rush into,” he said. “We want to make sure it’s the right thing for the city.”

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, and Airport Board Vice President Mark Appelquist said the latest estimate they had for changing the plan was around $300,000.

Minor revisions or clarifications to the plan would be significantly cheaper, but the board isn’t sure that a solar farm would fall under that.

Solar energy companies have been popping up throughout the area trying to line up projects and pursue competitive solar renewable energy credits from the Illinois Power Agency come summer.

The Lee County Board approved its first ordinance regulating solar farm development last month and is being pursued by a company wanting to build a solar farm across 200 acres.

Also in December, the Bureau County Board approved special use permits for a $31 million solar farm to be built in the northwestern part of the county, near New Bedford.

NEXT MEETING

The Dixon Municipal Airport Board next meets at 5 p.m. March 14 at the airport, 1650 Franklin Grove Road.

Call 815-288-1485 or go to discoverdixon.org for an agenda or more information.

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