By Rachel Rodgers
More than a dozen solar farm projects in the area were picked during the first round of a state lottery for renewable energy credits, with the majority located in Whiteside County.
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 waitlist.
Most community solar developments are 2 megwatt projects, which typically cover about a dozen acres and generate enough energy to power around 350 homes.