Silent solar farms might be music to the ears of McLean County’s zoning board

Cypress solar farm
Cyrpess Creek Renewables has applied to build two solar farms in Arrowsmith Township and another in Downs Township.  (Photo courtesy of Cypress Creek Renewables Facebook page)

By Howard Packowitz

BLOOMINGTON – The company seeking permission to build McLean County’s first three solar farms may have struck a chord Tuesday night with the county’s zoning board of appeals.

Objections during eight nights of hearings into a proposed wind farm in northeastern McLean County centered on the noise from 100 turbines spread over five townships.

Scott Novack, Cypress Creek Renewables’ senior developer, told the zoning board people living near the two proposed solar farms in Arrowsmith Township and a third in Downs Township won’t hear a thing.

“There’s nothing moving at all at night. During the day, there’s an inverter and a transformer that has a cooling fan that makes some noise,” said Novack.

“But, outside of a 150 foot radius from that equipment, you can’t detect that noise,” he added.

Board member Julia Turner wondered why Cypress Creek picked McLean County because she said we don’t get much sunshine here.

Novack responded it’s just like getting sunburn on a cloudy day.

“Even if it’s not direct sunlight where we think of a blue sky, sunny day, if there (are) clouds overhead, there’s still sunlight soaking through,” said Novack.

“Those panels are still generating electricity,” Novack also said.

The company says the three solar farms will create 75 jobs and generate enough power for 963 homes. It’s investing $11.7 million on the project.

The zoning board’s recommendation to the county board may come as soon as soon as Wednesday night.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at howard.packowitz@cumulus.com

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