September 21, 2023
Local News

Public hearing on 235-acre Marengo-area solar farm planned for Monday

The project scope has doubled since a September discussion

MARENGO – Marengo-area residents will have a chance Monday to voice their opinions on a proposed 235-acre solar farm.

Developers in September first floated the idea to build the solar farm on a 110-acre agricultural lot just outside Marengo. The proposed project scope has now more than doubled. SunEast Development, Enel Green Energy and Energy Renewal Partners are planning the development under Marengo Solar LLC.

Marengo officials must issue a special use permit for the project to move forward. The property where the solar farm would rest is on the east and west sides of Johnson Road, south of Route 20. A zoning amendment and annexation are required along with the permit.

SunEast is a wholesale electric provider, and there might be room for Marengo to tap into that clean energy once the site is in use.

Marengo City Administrator Joshua Blakemore said the city is working on a potential deal with the developer to provide solar energy to its Waste Water Treatment plant, which costs between $115,000 to $130,000 in electric bills annually.

The life of the solar panels is about 40 years and officials have said the development won’t harm the land it sits on.

Neighbor Bill Johnson, who owns the residential property that will be surrounded by the farm if it goes through, said he was concerned about the future of the property, which has been in his family for decades.

“I am not opposed to solar power,” he said. “I see the future for it. … But if one would stand on my property, about 75 percent of the visual space will be solar panels. … and a security fence containing all of this. Progress is a good thing, but there are always victims.”

Marengo’s Planning and Zoning commission will host a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday at Marengo City Hall, 132 E. Prairie St.