Cypress Creek makes pitch for solar farm along Egyptian Trail

By Kayleigh Rahn
In the coming weeks the Tuscola city council will take time to consider a proposal for a solar array farm – Southland Solar LLC – to be located south of town along Egyptian Trail.

The 2-megawatt, 9,000-panel solar facility would sit on 22 acres on the west side of the road, at 1298 Egyptian Trail, according to Cypress Creek Renewables representatives. The $3.9 million project interconnects with Ameren services, and the site would have the potential to service about 321 homes. Local spending during construction could reach about $2.3 million and local annual spending is estimated to reach about $27,000 following construction.

The application was introduced to the community during a Thursday, July 19 special use permit hearing where the Tuscola Planning Commission opted to not recommend the application for approval by the city council.

The recommendation against the solar farm came with a 4-1 vote with Jerry Reynolds serving as the lone vote in favor of the application.

The city council could discuss and possibly make a motion to approve or not approve the application during the next council meeting Monday, Aug. 13. The discussion did not take place Monday, July 23 because the council was waiting for the planning commission to submit a report from its Thursday, July 19 meeting.

Of course, the type of technology used in a solar farm is called a photovoltaic (PV) system, which is the usage of specially designed panels that convert solar energy, or sunlight, into electricity, the commission learned during the July 19 hearing.

David Riester, managing director for Cypress Creek Renewables, told the commission that the project is a 2 megawatt community site that fits into the parameters of the new Illinois legislation regarding the future energy jobs act.

“How community solar works is it is a very small-scale, compact site,” Riester said. “Individuals or entities like churches, towns or companies would subscribe to the project and buy the energy. Anyone within the Ameren service territory, which is where this project would be interconnected into, would have the opportunity to subscribe and participate in renewable energy in a very low-impact way.”

The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Aug. 1 edition of The Tuscola Journal.

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