RICHLAND CO., Wis. (WMTV) – Alliant Energy announced Monday a solar site in Richland County is now operational, ahead of an economic boost to the surrounding area.
The 50-megawatt Bear Creek solar site is located in the town of Buena Vista. Since construction began in July 2021, the project ended this month with more than 120,000 solar panels installed.
The project is expected to generate enough energy to power roughly 13,000 homes, according to Alliant Energy.
“This is what we’ve all been waiting for. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into this program,” Erik Jensen, construction manager, said. “It’s a big day.”
Beyond the gates of the 456-acre site, economic impact is headed to the county and township. They’ll get roughly $200,000 in combined shared revenue payments every year for the next 30 years.
Buena Vista Clerk Van Nelson said the town will get about $80,000 annually.
“It means we’re going to have some really nice roads,” he said. “We only do certain things out here. We have elections, we fix roads and we provide fire and EMS service—that’s where the money’s got to go.”
He says the project has already put people to work.
“They brought a lot of people in here, and they helped a lot of the area for restaurants, motels,” he said. “It was a good thing.”
Nelson said, for the most part, the community was receptive of the project. While some residents were concerned about the high visibility of the solar panels, both Nelson and Alliant Energy officials confirmed, trees were planted around the property to help conceal the panels.
Alliant Energy is working to build 11 other solar energy sites around the state.
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