City Council considers SunVest Solar for solar farm development


Elisa Reamer | Northern Star

8 alderpeople at DeKalb City Council meeting on Monday.

By Elisa Reamer

DeKALB — The DeKalb City Council will move forward with the consideration of SunVest Solar Inc. to develop a solar farm on the southwest end of the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport. 

The solar farm will produce revenue through a leasehold of 25 years, City Manager Bill Nicklas said. The lease rate is $1800 per acre. Since it will be built on 48 acres, the first year alone will bring in $86,400. Over the 25 years, the solar farm would bring in $2.8 million. 

Nicklas said that the solar farm is a unique and positive opportunity for DeKalb. 

“I think this is a great opportunity for the airport; I think it’s a good way to raise some revenue,” Seventh Ward Alderperson Anthony Faivre said.There’s a lot of land that’s around the airport that’s on the field as well as off-field.” 

One megawatt will serve about 200 homes that can be distributed over a long distance, said Bill French, regional director of project development for SunVest Solar. 

“Additional revenue stream for the airport is fantastic,” Mayor Cohen Barnes said. “It just seems like the city continues to get more and more creative on how we can maximize the property we have, or the revenue streams that we have, so this is fantastic. ”

First Ward Alderperson Carolyn Morris said the solar farm is an efficient use of the airport’s land. 

The developer will cover all of the costs relating to environmental assessments, drainage studies, and glare studies required by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to the Oct. 11 City Council agenda. 

Nicklas said that the most recent redevelopment on the land was for a helicopter company, which was done by cleaning up old hangars of the west end of the airport.The company generates under $25,000 a year. 

DeKalb to purchase license plate readers

DeKalb City Council passed a resolution 8-0 to purchase 12 license plate readers for $145,865 to help stop crime in the city by catching stolen cars or criminals coming into the city that may have warrants out for their arrest. 

Sixty DeKalb residents attended a meeting at Missionary Baptist Church hosted by DeKalb Police Chief David Byrd and Darren Mitchell, acting NIU police chief, to discuss what to do about the crime and shootings in DeKalb, according to a Northern Star article

The consensus was to purchase license plate readers.

Different systems can sync up and mirror one another so departments can help each other out, Police Chief David Byrd said. A police officer from another city could put a moving car into their system, and if they reach DeKalb, it will trigger their system. 

“It doesn’t take the place of good old-fashioned police work,” Byrd said. “Police officers still are going to have to respond quickly, it still makes apprehensions, of course, we still have to locate vehicles, although they come in through a certain choke point officers are still going to have to locate them in a swift, timely manner.”

Byrd said license plate readers are more effective in a tight-knit community since it is easier to catch criminals that are on the move. He said he spoke to an Illinois State Police that said vehicles will go through their readers, but the vehicles have so many escape routes with exits and having four lanes on an interstate. 

Byrd gave an example of the license plate readers solving an Amber Alert case. If the child crosses into the city, it can ping the reader, and then the police can have the child in a timely manner. 

“We are only using these resources for felonious vehicles, they come into the City of DeKalb, and at that point, that’s when the whole process will be triggered,” Byrd said.