Solar farm plan up for public review in South Barrington

South Barrington officials will hold a special meeting Thursday to consider plans for a solar farm where a landfill once operated.

The special meeting follows the plan commission’s decision last week to recommend the board preliminarily approve the proposal, which focuses on 110 acres of vacant land at 541 E. Mundhank Road.

The site, owned by the Phoenix-based Republic Services waste disposal company, is on the east side of South Barrington between Willowmere Drive and North Freeman Road, just west of the Paul Douglas Forest Preserve. It was used as a landfill until the 1980s.

A New York company called AC Power wants to install a ground-mounted array of solar panels on about 25 acres of the site. The firm typically partners with land owners to turn low-value properties such as landfills and quarries into solar farms, with no upfront or maintenance costs to the owners, according to the company’s website.

Once the field is set up, the company would like to create a community solar program, which would allow nearby homeowners to connect their electricity accounts to the solar farm and get credits on their electrical bills for their share of the power produced.

AC Power has created similar operations in New York and New Jersey and is developing more in those states and elsewhere, including in suburban Cook County, its website indicates.

Some Hoffman Estates residents whose homes are near the site have voiced concern about what would happen to solar panels after they’re no longer usable, South Barrington Mayor Paula McCombie said. Residents also have requested village officials insist AC Power create landscaping buffers to reduce the visibility of the proposed array from their homes, McCombie said.

Changes to the plan are pending, she said.

“They were heard,” McCombie said. “They were listened to.”

  A solar farm has been proposed for this decommissioned landfill at 541 E. Mundhank Road in South Barrington. Village officials publicly will discuss the plan Thursday night. Brian Hill/, April 2024

If the village board gives the plan its preliminary approval, more work will be needed before construction can begin, including water testing and engineering, McCombie said.

AC Power representatives presented their concept to the village board in March. They’ll need a special use permit for the proposed array.

Other companies have proposed solar farms in different suburban areas, including Antioch and near Hawthorn Woods.

That latter proposal, which faced significant community opposition, was withdrawn earlier this year after Hawthorn Woods annexed the intended site. A legal fight is pending.

Thursday’s board meeting is set for 6 p.m. at village hall, 30 S. Barrington Road.

Public hearing on proposed commercial solar facility near Hawthorn Woods canceled as village annexes property

Solar farm proposal near Hawthorn Woods faces stiff opposition from residents, village

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