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Solar energy plant coming to Saline County

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ELDORADO (WSIL) -- A new solar energy project headed to Saline County is expected to bring major economic development.

Developers for the Eldorado Solar Project say they want the community informed as much as possible. Finalized approvals for a solar farm are expected to be done by early 2022.

The Eldorado Solar Project is estimated to be a $135 million investment and sit on about 2,600 acres. The 150 megawatt solar farm will make enough electricity for about 28,000 households per year.

"Projects like this are really win-win for the community and the project. Solar projects are quiet neighbors, no emissions and stand, maybe 12 feet off the ground," says Development Director Mike Roth.

Developers of The Eldorado Project say it will benefit the community in many ways like bringing in jobs, helping the environment and saving on electric bills.

"They offer economic benefits in the way of tax revenue, contractor opportunities, land owner, lease payments, etcetera," he says.

This project is one of many to impact the Southern Illinois area. The new Hurricane Creek Community Solar Farm in Carterville and recently installed panels in Carbondale plan to help save millions of dollars in the next 20 years.

Roth says they want to keep an open dialogue with the community as the next phases continue.

"Tenaska and Arevon have opened an office here in Eldorado and have staffed it with two local representatives. Randy Vickery and David Martin and they're here to answer any questions that community members have about the project, about solar, etcetera. We're proud to be here and look forward to being a productive member of the community,' he says.

The Eldorado Solar Project is expected to start operating by 2023 or 2024.

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Maya Skinner

Maya Skinner is a Multimedia Journalist at News 3 WSIL. Maya joined the team in 2019 and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2018 with a Bachelor’s in Communication with a focus in Mass Media.

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