PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Peoria Planning and Zoning commission deferred their decision for 30 days whether to approve a solar energy farm in a residential area.
Jason Hawksworth of Hawk-Attolo LLC, a local solar energy company, proposed a solar farm in a Peoria residential area at the meeting on Thursday. The proposed location at 3901 Reservoir Boulevard is surrounded by homes, condos and multiple churches.
The solar farm would occupy six undeveloped acres, adding two gravel access roads and six foot chain link fence.
“The purpose of this project is to develop a community solar project and the intent is to develop what’s known as a community-driven or community-led solar project. We’re doing so in partnership with a local nonprofit organization,” said Hawksworth.
Hawksworth said they will be partnering with nearby St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, which would have equity and input on how the solar power is used. Residents would also get first dibs on subscriptions.
“Ultimately, the power will be utilized by the local community,” said Hawksworth.
Multiple residents expressed concerns about health issues, noise, decline in property values and potential power outages.
“I’m all for renewables, but nobody has mentioned the health issues, the noise issues, property values, lights… It looks like it’s within yards of my backyard, and I don’t know if there’s ever been one built that close to anybody’s home where you could study the health issues, not to mention the property values,” said resident Donna Moore.
“The winners are the ones that are making the money. It could be a church or it could be a business. The losers are the people who live nearby who are losing their green space, losing property value,” said resident Bruce Mills.
“The underground power there put in approximately in 1978. In the last 5 years, we have had multiple power outages,” said resident Paul Kluber.
Hawksworth said there won’t be any new infrastructure that runs to the nearby Ameren substation located at the bottom of Sandia Rd.
“Ameren’s feasibility study presented information that told us there was adequate capacity within this section of this grid to support this project,” he said.
The commission ordered Hawksworth to conduct a study to evaluate community concerns. The proposal will be revisited by the commission on Feb. 2.