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Sunny outlook for solar projects in Macomb

Rich Egger

Numerous solar energy projects are being proposed in Macomb.

Community Development Coordinator John Bannon said the city is excited to attract green energy projects. But he cautions none of them will happen overnight.

“They’re not quick projects. I think they’re probably all two to five years from genesis to actual breaking ground,” he said, adding there could be seven or eight new solar fields in town by the time all is said and done.

The energy generated would be sold to Ameren.

The solar farms would be owned by a variety of private companies and would be scattered around the city.

“I just want to encourage those firms that do invest in and around Macomb to do so in a way that they’re good neighbors, that they’re planning for the future,” Bannon said.

For example, he said the project proposed for University Drive and East Street is required to have a buffer of bushes along the perimeter to improve the aesthetics.

He also would rather not have any solar farms in the commercial corridor along East Jackson Street – he said that district should be reserved for retail and industrial development.

Bannon said state and federal incentives are making the construction of solar farms appealing to companies, especially for projects in rural areas, and he pointed out Macomb is not alone -- projects are also proposed in Colchester, Bushnell, and Hancock County.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.