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Three Ogle County solar farms are approved by state

Three Ogle County solar farm projects were among the 14 in the area that were picked during the first round of a state lottery for renewable energy credits.

Those chosen in the county include

• 115.29 acres at 1226 W. Oregon Trail Rd., Oregon on property owned by Bradley J., Donna S., and Erik P. Bauer and being developed by One Energy Development LLC;

• 177.4 acres in the 8225 to 8500 block of West Haldane Road on property owned by Gary Bocker and being developed by DG Illinois Solar LLC; and

• 65.78 acres south of 3788 N. Mt. Morris Rd., Mt. Morris, on property owned by Wilma Hongsermeier and being developed by Sunvest New Energy LLC.

All three projects were approved by the Ogle County Board at special meeting on Jan. 10. 

Ogle County Zoning office has had more than a dozen requests in the last year or so for special use permits to allow solar farms, mostly from the Stillman Valley area.

The biggest solar farm proposal so far in this area is being considered in Lee County.

It would cover about 760 acres near Steward and generate enough energy to power 20,000 homes.

Junction Solar LLC is asking for a special-use permit to develop a 100-megawatt solar farm in Alto and Reynolds Townships on farmland owned by Larry and Julie Gittleson and Midwest Ag Investors LLC.

The project would be built between Herman and Reynolds Roads southwest of Steward.

Junction Solar would be developed by Minnesota-based Geronimo Energy, which owns the Green River Wind Farm that spans more than 13,000 acres in Lee and Whiteside counties.

The proposal was scheduled to go before the Lee County Zoning Board on Thursday.

The state's Future Energy Jobs Act, which was created in late 2016 and requires utility companies to get 25 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2025, led to a boom of solar energy companies lining up projects to submit to the Illinois Power Agency in hopes of garnering competitive solar renewable energy credits.

The agency was so inundated with project requests, especially in the community solar category where electricity would be sold to subscribers, that it triggered a lottery process.

The Sauk Valley has seen dozens of requests for special use permits to develop solar farms, but most of the projects are contingent on getting the credits. More than 40 of the proposed area projects were placed on a waiting list.

Most community solar developments are 2 megwatt projects, which typically cover about a dozen acres and generate enough energy to power around 350 homes.

Other area projects picked during the lottery earlier this month, all for 2 megawatt developments, unless noted otherwise, are:

Lee County

• Forefront Power LLC at Paw Paw Road in Paw Paw;

Carroll County

• Carbon Solutions Group SREC LLC for a 20-kilowatt project at 13907 Fritz Road in Mt. Carroll;

Whiteside County

• Borrego Solar Systems Inc. at 12876 Blue Goose Road in Morrison;

• SoCore Energy LLC for two 2-megawatt projects at 12107 Yorktown Road in Lyndon;

• SoCore Energy LLC at 19848 Bunker Hill Road in Lyndon;

• SoCore Energy LLC at 14378 Hillside Road in Morrison;

• TCA Microgrid Energy Management LLC at 900 22nd Ave. in Fulton;

• Nexamp Solar LLC at Fargo Road in Prophetstown;

• Cypress Creek Renewables LLC at 22198 Prophetstown Road in Rock Falls;

• Cypress Creek Renewables LLC at 16493 Sand Road in Fulton;

Bureau County

• IL-Solar Inc. for a 25-kilowatt project at 109 W. Maple Ave. in Manlius.

Vinde Wells of Ogle County Newspapers contributed to this story.