DuQuoin Solar Park is Almost Ready


By Sam Smith

PERRY CO. - Work on a new energy source in DuQuoin is near completion. Southern Illinois' first solar park is being built in the town's industrial park. It's designed to make DuQuoin greener and help attract more businesses.

The solar park project has been in the works for nearly two years. Thanks to state grants and the recent mild weather, the park is almost done, ahead of schedule. Leaders have big plans for the park and what it can bring to the city.

Sunny days will no longer go to waste in DuQuoin. Union workers have installed 340 panels in the city's soon to be solar park.

"It's going to be innovative and it's going to have significant output and I think it's going to be an interesting model for further development in other industrial parks," says DuQuoin finance commissioner Rex Duncan.

The energy produced will be enough to power a super Wal-Mart. The power generated by the panels can be fed directly to nearby businesses or sold on the open market. Duncan calls the project a win-win for residents and businesses.

"This is a way to provide reduced electrical cost to our industrial park occupants, this makes operations for these folks at our industrial park more profitable and more productive," says Duncan.

Duncan hopes that increased profitability will make the area more attractive to other businesses, and could serve as an example for neighboring communities.

"This along with other activities that we have going on in our community to improve the business climate are going to payoff in the long run for us, we are excited about it," says Duncan.

The total cost of the project is more than a half a million dollars. Thanks to two state grants, the city only had to pay for a quarter of that expense. Duncan insists Du Quoin is willing to spend money, in order to save money in the long run.

"We want the jobs, we want the businesses, we want the prosperity that goes with that and the community to back that up," says Duncan

The solar park is expected to be up and running by the end of the month. The panels should be good for around 30 years.
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