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Marengo reviews concept of new solar farm in town that could reduce energy bills, power about 800 homes

Marengo is moving forward with a proposal to have a solar farm installed west of town and help reduce residents’ bills, but more approval will be needed before any plans can start.

SunVest Solar LLC is proposing to install a solar facility across a 53-acre spot to the west of town. The site sits across from the First Assembly of God Church at 22817 W. Grant Highway.

Marengo’s City Council reviewed the concept at its July 11 meeting, and gave the go-ahead for the proposal to begin making its way through the city’s approval process.

In its current form, the solar farm would occupy 39 acres total, while leaving about 13 acres empty for future development, according to city documents.

The farm would be a five-megawatt facility, which could power about 800 homes, Public Works Director Rob Lamz said.

Adding to that, it could save homeowners between 5% and 10% on their electricity bill by supplementing some of their energy with the grid, he said.

“This is a great option for people who don’t want solar panels on their roof but want to use green energy,” Lamz said.

Along with needing to give final approval for the project, Marengo will need to annex a piece of land, as the farm would span two different parcels, city material states. One parcel currently sits in unincorporated McHenry County.

The city has already begun taking steps to annex the land, City Administrator Will Stefaniuk said.

That parcel in question is about 45 acres and sits north of Route 20. If annexed, it would add more frontage road on Route 20 into the city’s borders. The remainder, about eight acres that sit north of the parcel in question, is already annexed by the city.

“This could be an opportunity for the city to capture this frontage along Route 20 which is a major artery into the city,” city documents state.

In addition to the solar panels, the project could include a pollinator prairie beneath the panels, which lessens its maintenance and helps the local ecosystem, Lamz said.

The farm if given the go-ahead would be the second solar farm in Marengo, officials said. The first was approved back in 2018 and sits on Johnson Road off Route 20, just south of the newly proposed farm.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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