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Grant County Solar Project well underway
Solar Panels
A completed area of the Grant County Solar Project near Potosi. The project is estimated to be completed in early 2024, and will supply energy to 50,000 homes.

The Grant County Solar Project, outside of Potosi, part of Alliant Energy’s Clean Energy Blueprint, a strategic road map to cost-effectively accelerate our transition to renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions, is moving along with the first solar panels installed in late June.

         The project, which started construction in September 2022, once completed will provide “Enough clean, zero-fuel cost energy to power over 50,000 homes annually,” according to Tony Palese, Senior Communication Partner at Alliant Energy.

         The Grant County Solar Project is one of 12 solar project speared by Alliant Energy in the state, to move away from fuel sources such as coal and fossil fuels.

         Projects have already been completed in Richland, Rock and Wood Counties.

         The 1,400 acre site, once completed will provide zero emission clean energy for at least the next 30 years (the length of the lease on the project’s site).

         Economic impact

         In addition to the clean, solar energy the over 200 megawatt the solar project will supply to the area, there will also be economic benefits as well.

         Short term, during the construction, there have been over 400 workers on site, which in turn have brought additional revenue into the surrounding area. Business such as restaurants, gas stations, hotels. grocery stores, etc.

         Long term, once finished the project will create new full-time positions to keep he project operational.

        Further, Palese estimates that $24 million in shared revenue payments will be made the area for use for parks, schools, roads, etc.

         Environmental impact

         As with any project of this nature, the environmental impact is nearly questioned as much as the economic one.

         Once up and running, the Grant County Solar Project will feature grass and seed mixes surrounding the installed solar panels that will help build soil nutrients and create pollinator-friendly vegetation to prevent soil erosion, or as one on-site construction worker put in, “the land will be in better shape than when we arrived.”

         Seeding has already begun, and progress has been made in new vegetation growth.

         No concrete has been used in the panels’ installation, but rather lime stabilizer, which is commonly used in farming.

         Palese said that although not immediately planned at this site, but some similar sites have let livestock such as goats and sheep graze in between the panel rows.

         Although the panels do adjust based on the sun and wind speed, their “quiet motors,” make little to no detectable noise.

         Grant County Battery Project

         An offshoot of the Solar Project is the recently approved Grant County Battery Project.

         Once completed, this project, chosen due to the existing space and infrastructure at the in progress solar site, will help support the solar site by storing excess energy created, or when energy demand is low.

         Once customer use increases, the battery will discharge the proper amount of energy.

         Battery storage systems also improve energy security in the event of an outage or severe weather.

         The battery project is slated to began construction in 2024, and completed in 2025.

         The Grant County Solar Project itself will continue through the upcoming fall and winter months, with completion expected sometime in the first half of 2024.