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McLean County will consider a solar farm south of Bloomington

Solar panels
Cypress Creek Renewables has applied to build a 2-megawatt solar farm south of Bloomington.

A company that won preliminary approval to build a solar farm in McLean County last month wants to build another solar-energy facility in the county.

California-based Cypress Creek Renewables has applied to build a 2-megawatt solar farm on 28 acres south of Bloomington north of the Route 51 and Interstate 74 interchange.

Cypress Creek Renewables already received a special-use permit for the project in 2018 and 2020 but did not proceed. The company is seeking an extension because the permit is set to expire next month.

“They think that they are going to be able to find more favorable economic conditions to get this thing built starting probably at the end of this year,” McLean County Building and Zoning Director Phil Dick said.

The county's Zoning Board of Appeals will consider the request at its 7 p.m. Tuesday meeting. County staff said the project meets all of the county's standards for solar energy construction.

If approved, the proposal will go before the full County Board on June 16.

The county has one existing solar facility, Moraine Solar, a 2-megawatt facility near Downs.

Last month, the county ZBA approved a 5-megawatt solar farm for Cypress Creek Renewables southwest of Bloomington in Dale Township, but the County Board postponed a vote to determine whether local labor would be used for its construction.

Company officials said at the time new clean energy incentives make that project feasible.

"With the recent passage of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act this project is now ready to move forward," project developer Ryan McQuigg said, noting the project was not previously selected in the state's renewable energy credits lottery.

Dick said he expects other developers who previously got permits for solar farms but never built will soon resubmit the proposals.

Corrected: June 15, 2022 at 5:51 PM CDT
This story has been corrected to indicate the 5-megawatt solar farm is still awaiting formal approval of the County Board.
Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.