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Officials discuss proposed solar development in DeKalb

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(The Center Square) – A proposed solar farm in DeKalb has sparked discussions about energy policy in Illinois.

PureSky Energy of Colorado has proposed a 38-acre solar development that, if approved, could be constructed next year. Mike Larkin of the PureSky development team addressed the City of DeKalb’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

“These things typically operate anywhere from 20 to 40 years, so we would plan to be the long-term operator,” Larkin said.

State Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, said he’s not opposed to the solar arrays.

“If those panels could be secured from U.S. domestic-produced providers, all the better,” Keicher said.

According to Larkin, the development would service about 4,000 to 5,000 homes.

Keicher said the proposed solar farm on Route 38 should be fine, as long as it doesn’t have an adverse effect on neighbors. But Keicher warned that solar and wind alone won’t be enough to power Illinois.

“The one thing we can’t do is, we can’t assume that that’s going to supplant what we need from Byron Nuclear, from coal plants and from natural gas plants,” Keicher said.

And Keicher said that Illinois is subsidizing panels that are constructed in Communist China.

“Shouldn’t we demand that those panels be built either in North America or the United States specifically, so that the tax dollars from Illinois taxpayers or ratepayers from ComEd go to supporting domestic jobs?” Keicher asked.

The City of DeKalb Planning and Zoning Commission reached a consensus for the PureSky project to go forward. If approved, construction could take place next year on the site at Route 38 and John Huber Parkway.