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4,000-acre solar project proposed in Lee County

$100 million+ project potentially would be the biggest in the state

DIXON – A massive solar project is being proposed south of Dixon.

Duke Energy Renewable Solar LLC is looking to develop a utility grade solar farm on about 4,000 acres south of the industrial park on state Route 26 in South Dixon Township.

The project is in early development stages. Long-term leases have been negotiated and signed by multiple landowners, project manager Tyler Coon said.

The details are being worked out, but it would create 200 to 500 megawatts of power per year and be an investment of upward of $100 million.

That would be larger than any existing solar development in Illinois today, but there are other proposals in that range waiting for approval, Coon said.

The target timeline for going online is 2023.

The company is seeking approval from the Quad Cities Regional Economic Development Authority to have the project included in its enterprise zone.

The regional zone’s boundaries can be expanded to accommodate large-scale projects; it offers different development incentives including low-interest financing bonds, a sales-tax exemption on building materials and state investment tax credits.

A public hearing will take place at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Quad Cities International Airport, 220 69th Ave. in Moline, prior to the vote to expand the enterprise zone.

If the boundaries are amended, the agency will submit the application to the state, and it likely will take about 4 months to be added to the zone, QCREDA Executive Director Warren Ribley said.

“It’s an exciting project,” he said. “It would be the biggest one [solar project] I’ve seen in the state.”

Duke Energy then would go through approval processes for the next couple years, including pursuing an interconnection agreement with PJM Interconnection and obtaining permits at the state, county and local levels.

The company plans to have open houses and public outreach this year, Coon said.

“We want to work with the community to make sure this project is successful.”

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