California company wants to build solar farm at Lake in the Hills airport

  • A California-based energy company is seeking to build a solar farm at the Lake in the Hills Airport.

    A California-based energy company is seeking to build a solar farm at the Lake in the Hills Airport. Daily Herald File Photo

Updated 12/11/2017 6:10 PM

A California company is eyeing the Lake in the Hills Airport to build a solar farm, village Economic Development Coordinator George Hahne said.

Village officials are in discussions with Cenergy Power, based in Carlsbad, California, which focuses on solar energy development, engineering and construction.


Cenergy has developed, engineered and built more than 300 solar projects in nine states the past 10 years. It is a clean energy company that provides renewable solar power for commercial, agricultural and utility scale businesses, village documents show.

The company is looking to lease roughly 10 acres along the southern portion of the airport property to accommodate enough solar panel arrays to generate 2.5 megawatts of direct current electricity -- characterized by a uniform direction of flow and voltage amount -- that could provide energy to local consumers through ComEd's grid. It sells energy back to ComEd at a cost lower than traditionally produced power, documents show.

"There is a lot of unused property around there," Hahne said. "They place these solar farms in small municipal airports. Ours is like a perfect place to have one."

Like most municipal airports, Lake in the Hills has excess land purchased for potential future airport expansion, he added.

It would become the largest municipal solar project in McHenry County.

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Cenergy would bear the design, construction and maintenance costs and would pay a lease rate of $2,000 per acre yearly for 21 years. The company is in discussions with five other municipalities, including three Illinois airports, documents show.

Hahne sought out Cenergy in September after reading about the company's solar projects in The Wall Street Journal.

The village board's committee of the whole will review the proposal at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at village hall, 600 Harvest Gate.

The board first must approve the solar farm concept and authorize staff to execute a one-year lease option agreement allowing Cenergy to perform site engineering studies at its own expense. It does not guarantee the project's approval as there are many regulatory processes before a solar farm would be allowed to operate.

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