Solar-farm proposals flare up after Champaign County's zoning change

Solar-farm proposals flare up after Champaign County's zoning change

Since the Champaign County Board signed off on the process for establishing solar farms two weeks ago, applications from would-be operators have been flowing in.

All told, four developers are pitching a total of seven such projects — three in rural St. Joseph, three in rural Sidney and one in rural Ludlow.

Here's a synopsis, starting with a map of the proposed locations:

Baywa r.e.

By far, the biggest proposed project is a 150-megawatt solar farm south and east of Sidney being developed by Irvine, Calif.-based BayWa r.e.

Company spokesman Patrick Brown said the project would be located directly south of the Sidney Substation at 2141 County Road 1000N. It encompasses about 1,200 acres.

Community Power Group

Nick Mento said the Bethesda, Md.-based company is planning one solar farm near St. Joseph and another near Ludlow.

A 2-megawatt community farm would be built on 13.56 acres of a 57.84-acre tract north of the St. Joseph Sportsman Club, bordered by county roads 2350 E and 1700 N.

Community Power has also proposed a 2-megawatt community farm to be built on 16 acres of a 36.77-acre tract at the southeast corner of county roads 1300 E and 3300 N in Ludlow Township.

Cypress Creek Renewables

The smallest proposed Sidney farm is the one planned by Cypress Creek Renewables of Durham, N.C. It wants to build a 2-megawatt community farm on 20 acres of a 24-acre track west of County Road 2200 E and 220 feet north of County Highway 15 in Sidney Township.

Forefront Power

Jason Grissom and Christopher Wall of San Francisco-based Forefront have three area projects in the works — two near St. Joseph, one in Sidney Township.

Forefront's Sidney solar farm would consist of two 2-megawatt sites in the field east of a house at 2232A County Road 1000 N (also known as County Route 15 or the Sidney Slab). The project fronts on the north side of the Sidney Slab, on 22.59 acres of a 121.79-acre tract.

Also proposed, near St. Joseph:

A 4-megawatt community solar farm on 31.8 acres of a 153-acre tract north of Interstate 74 and west of County Road 2350 E.

A 2-megawatt community farm on 14.37 acres of a 212-acre tract west of County Road 2200 E (also known as Flatville Road) and north of County Road 1700 N.

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