DeKalb City Council to review solar farm development plan


Elisa Reamer | Northern Star

DeKalb City Council meeting on Monday with Alder people Carolyn Morris, Barb Larson, Greg Perkins and Tracy Smith.

By Elisa Reamer, News Editor

DeKALB — The DeKalb City Council will consider a proposal from SunVest Solar, Inc. on Monday to develop a solar farm on the northwest side of the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport. The solar farm will be placed on a 48-acre piece of land. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act that focuses on cleaning up Illinois by using clean energy. The plan is to make the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy even faster, according to the Illinois Environmental Council

“The recently enacted Climate and Equitable Jobs Act will provide funding for 250 megawatt Community Solar projects in 2022 and 150 megawatt Community Solar projects through 2030 in Illinois,” according to the Oct. 11 City Council agenda.  

The council approved a plan for developmental zoning and a development plan for a solar garden in 2019 on Gulrer road. In 2020, they approved a one-year extension for the solar garden and then in February approved an amendment to the 2019 ordinance to remove the time limit, according to the City Council agenda

“Subsequent to the 2019 Council action, the Gurler parcel was entered in a lottery under the purview of the Illinois Power Agency’s Community Solar Garden program,” the agenda reads. “The lottery provides an opportunity for solar electricity projects in Illinois to compete for renewable energy credits and uses a random number generator.”

The goal behind building the solar farm is to raise the airport’s annual rent income.

The Airport Advisory Board has also considered developing new airport hangars to attract new people to use the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport but doesn’t have the revenue to support new services, according to the agenda. 

All costs will be paid by the developer. This includes environmental assessments, drainage studies, and glare studies required by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to the agenda. 

If council members go forward with a developmental plan with SunVest, it will be brought back at a future meeting for review and action. 

Council to discuss license plate readers

The City Council will discuss a resolution for the city to purchase 12 license plate readers to be placed at five busy intersections for $145,865. 

Residents and officials of DeKalb met to discuss ideas on how to make DeKalb a safer place and reduce the anxiety of frustration for people who live and work in the city. Attendees of the meeting had a shared concern about the people who come to DeKalb to escape arrests or other forms of mischief.

“The cameras can be mounted on light poles and other infrastructure to take pictures of license plates as they pass and immediately check a database that can flag a stolen car or a suspect wanted in a significant crime,” the agenda reads. “Such technology can also identify suspect vehicles leaving the scene of an in-progress call.” 

The City Council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday at the DeKalb Public Library, 309 Oak St., in the Yusunas Meeting Room.