Landfill turning into solar farm

MORRISON, Ill. — Whiteside County’s Prairie Hill Landfill will soon be home to a solar farm.

The Whiteside County Board unanimously approved a land lease to IPS Energy for development of a solar farm on the cap of the landfill’s closed portion. The solar farm could develop into a 10 mega-watt facility.

The county is one of many communities to take advantage of Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act which mandates that 25 percent of ComEd’s and Ameren’s power come from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, by 2025.

“A solar farm requires a lot of area, and a closed landfill makes an excellent site for one,” Jim Duffy, Whiteside County Board chairman, said. “We are excited to create additional, long-term value for the closed landfill by leasing the closed landfill cap to a solar farm that will be supplying clean energy to the area’s residents and businesses.”

The terms of the lease provide for a 25-year term (with two possible five year extensions) with a lease rate of $10,000 per mega-watt acre (it takes approximately 8 acres to produce a megawatt), and a 2 percent annual increase in the lease rate.

“It’s almost poetic that the landfill, a highly visible reminder of the human impact on our environment, will be home to a solar farm that will generate clean, renewable energy,” Gary Camarano, Whiteside County’s Economic Development director, said. “We are transforming our trash piles into renewable energy treasure with a planned solar farm at the closed landfill.”

Over the course of the lease there is the potential for the county to take in more than $5.2 million in lease payments if the solar farm reaches a 10 megawatt output.

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