La Porte zoning board approves $500M solar farm

The La Porte County Board of Zoning Appeals recently gave the green light for RWE Clean Energy to start building a solar farm.

In a 3-2 vote, the board granted an exception to the current agricultural zoning. The Bluestone Solar Farm will sit on about 3,000 acres in northeast La Porte County within Wills, Kankakee and Pleasant townships.

Bluestem Solar Farm is a two-phase solar and battery energy storage system project. Phase 1 consists of 275 MW solar. Phase 2 consists of 125 MW solar and 100 MW BESS. The project is forecasted to produce enough solar energy to power about 68,000 average-sized U.S homes.

RWE plans to begin construction between 2025 and 2026. To maximize solar energy production, RWE will install solar panels with silicon on both sides of the panel to capture extra sunlight. The panels will be mounted to a tracking system that follows the sun from east to west during the day. RWE will plant a seed mix of native, pollinator-friendly grasses, to improve the land’s environmental diversity.

RWE plans for Bluestem Solar Farm to be operational by 2026 or 2027. The company will own and operate the solar farm for its 35-year lifetime. After 35 years, the equipment will be removed and the land will be returned to its original agricultural use.

RWE’s remote operations center will monitor the panels 24/7, 365 days a year. An operations team will also be onsite.

RWE Clean Energy develops, constructs and operates renewable energy facilities. The company operates a renewable energy portfolio of about 8 gigawatts installed capacity of onshore wind, solar and battery storage. RWE Clean Energy is a subsidiary of RWE Group based in Essen, Germany.

(Photo provided by RWE)


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