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A Metamora community solar project could mean big discounts for utility customers

Recently, Metamora community members have taken to social media to express concerns about the condition of the historic courthouse in the village square.
Tim Shelley
The Metamora Courthouse State Historic Site on the village's historic square.

A 35-acre cornfield owned by the village of Metamora may soon make way for a new community solar project.

Trajectory Energy Partners wants to begin construction on a site on the eastern edge of the village next fall.

Kiersten Sheets is a project development manager with the company. She said the five-megawatt community solar project should offer several benefits for Metamora residents.

"It brings lease payments to the village for that 35 acres. It brings taxes to the village for the asset that's being built on it. And it brings revenue to the school district because of that as well," she said.

Subscribers to the solar project could also see a hefty utility discount.

"We're offering a 20% utility discount on their electricity supply from their Ameren Illinois bill," Sheets said.

The solar field will generate about $35,000 in tax revenues annually, and enough energy to power nearly 1,100 homes, according to Sheets.

"This is still connected to the Ameren Illinois grid via three phase line that runs down (Route) 116 on the edge of the village there, but this is going to be the specific savings offered to village of Metamora residents as community solar subscribers," she said.

The Metamora village board is set to vote on approval of a special use permit for the community solar project at its regular meeting next Tuesday.

"After that, we will send in an application to the Illinois Power Agency in a program called Community Driven Community Solar," Sheets said. "And that's a special pot of money that's been set aside and created in the Adjustable Block Program for community-driven solar projects such as these."

Sheets said subscribing to the solar program is free, and subscribers can cancel if they later decide to opt out.

Sheets said any community, school district, or park district with 30 to 40 acres to spare can conceivably launch a similar project. She said Trajectory Energy Partners is currently working on two additional community solar projects near the Greater Peoria International Airport, and a second site just outside of Brimfield. Similar projects are also planned for Marshall County.

Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.