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Projects Updates for Solar Farm 1.0

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  1. Franklin Ground Squirrels may be on site

    Associated Project(s): 

    Keith Shank at IDNR responded to the EcoCAT request, with the following note.  "Well, it’s hard to escape those Franklin Ground Squirrels.  In 2010, Ameren observed two FGS near the intersection of Curtis Road and Rt. 45, and ten years ago we had a road-killed FGS at Windsor Road and Rt. 45.  Ameren opined they could be all up and down the RR corridor, which the western end of your project area happens to lie against.

    It may be possible the FGS are in the area around the farm buildings, but they would be unlikely to be out in the experimental plots, at the moment.  However, depending on the type of solar energy facility being proposed, they might be able to colonize the solar farm.  While that would be good for the FGS, it could complicate subsequent operations and maintenance of the facility.  Remember that they love any kind of soil stockpile, so be careful where you stack any dirt and how long you might leave it there."

  2. EcoCAT documentation initiated

    Associated Project(s): 

    IDNR staff will review the project because the Franklin's Ground Squirrel may reside there. They state they will require thirty days of review. The Franklin’s Ground Squirrel resides in culverts and areas with low shrubs and prairie grasses and not in cultivated farm areas. Most of the Solar Farm area has been farmed for years.

  3. RFP released and notices sent to community

    Associated Project(s): 

    From: Jack Dempsey Subject: Solar Farm letter ready to go In the interest of keeping an open dialogue with our neighbors, I would like to inform you that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is pursuing the development of a 28.5-acre solar farm on the campus’s South Farms. The attached fact sheet describes the details of the project, including specifics of the proposal, expected timeline, and frequently asked questions about solar farms. This information will be sent to the residents on First Street near the proposed site, with the attached letter. I’m also including the full RFP here in case you are interested. This is expected to go live tomorrow. If you have any questions or suggestions as we move forward with this project, please contact Morgan Johnston, our Sustainability Coordinator copied here. Thanks, Jack RFP and subsequent amendments are online at

  4. Solar Farm Proposal Approved

    Associated Project(s): 

    The proposed Solar Farm was taken through the formal Site Selection process for campus, and approved by the Chancellor’s Capital Review Committee (CCRC).  Then the Request for Proposal (RFP) was published and over 30 vendors downloaded the RFP.  A Fact Sheet and Q&A were sent with introductory letters to the community leaders and Solar Farm site neighbors on First Street.


  5. Jim Sims named as Planner for connection to campus grid

    Associated Project(s): 

    Because the Solar Farm is being managed by Purchasing, through the RFP process and contracts, there is not a Planner assigned to the entire Solar Farm project. However, the portion of the project that does relate to campus infrastructure is the connection to the Campus Electrical Grid. That will be under the responsibility of Jim Sims as the Planner.

  6. Land Assignment for Solar Farm

    Associated Project(s): 

    ACES will transfer assignment of 27.8 acres at Kruse Farm to Facilities & Services to provide property for the solar farm installation. ln exchange, Facilities & Services will provide ACES Crop Sciences with $84,250 to re-establish new organic acres as replacement for their research

    Location of land identified for this purpose is near the southwest corner of Windsor Road and First Street, bounded by the railroad tracks to the west and First Street to the east. A total oÍ 27 .B acres has been identified, including the homestead area, as illustrated on the attached map. lf additional acreage is needed, up to a total of 30 acres, land directly east of the homestead area may be made available.

    NRES is in the process of developing this farmland to meet organic designation/standards and relocation of this activity will be required in order to accommodate making the land available to F&S. The Department of Crop Sciences has agreed to provide similar acreage to NRES for this purpose. The location of the replacement land will be in the southern portion of the Cruse Farm and is reflected in the 27 acres identified as C1000W 14 acres and C100E 13 acres in the attached map.

    To facilitate relocation and to compensate the Department of Crop Sciences, F&S agrees to provide $550/acre for each of 5 years, plus $10,000. Funds would be provided beginning FY12 as outlined below. After the 5-year period, any compensation required by the Department of Crop Sciences will become the responsibility of the Department of NRES.

  7. Progress on Solar Farm

    Associated Project(s): 

    A fact sheet and frequently asked questions document were developed by F&S for neighbors of the proposed solar farm on South Farms. In February, the documents will be accompanied by a cover letter and sent to the mayors/leadership of surrounding jurisdictions, as well as residents in the immediate vicinity of the proposed location, to inform them of the proposed development.   Once the Request for Proposal (RFP) is complete and the Chancellor’s Capital Review Committee approves the project, the RFP will be published. The installation is tentatively scheduled for this fall.