Boone County Board Members are trying to turn an abandoned field, into an energy source. They met Wednesday night to discuss installing solar panels on a landfill near Squaw Prairie and Fairgrounds Roads. This is a new idea that has a lot of people excited, some county board members say it’s a promising project. But some at the meeting had worries about the property surrounding the landfill.
The landfill closed about 25 years ago. It’s located just East of Route 76 and Spring Creek Road in Belvidere, but soon, it could be the home of a new solar panel farm.
Jeff Carlisle, Boone County Board Member – Dist 2
“The goal is revenue,” said Boone County Board Member Jeff Carlisle. “The goal is to functionally work with some type of revenue to bring to the county. Solar farms are a valuable part of so we’re looking at it.”
As of right now, Boone County is in negotiations with a handful of companies that could build the solar farm. Until the board picks one, It’s unclear how much the project will cost, but Carlisle says the panels will provide power for the City of Belvidere and Boone County buildings, which could help them to save on energy costs.
“If we take down some of the costs in our city, [and] county buildings together that’s also going to those budgets there ultimately it helps everybody in the long run.”
County Administrator Ken Terrinoni says Boon County would earn money through whichever company ultimately ends up building the solar farm.
“It would bring in some lease payment money for county, for the taxpayers, and the company would pay the cost of getting the permits from the Illinois EPA to have a solar farm,” said Terrinoni.
“We’re getting zero money from the mound and and now were getting small amount of money for the farmland behind it,” said Carlisle. “We’re looking at earning 62% on the farmland more, if we put a [solar] panel on it.”
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“They create these tax incentives that are causing private industries to step forward and say ‘hey maybe I can do something with this property, turn it into some value for the landowner as opposed to just being an environmental site that’s closed,” said Terrinoni.
Terrinioni adds that the approval for the project is on a tight schedule. Therefore, when the joint City and County Committee meet next week they hope to bring a recommendation to the Boone County Board meeting on the 21st.