05092019CM0855CARLINVILLE – Utility costs for Blackburn College’s Carlinville campus may be reduced by up to 60 percent thanks to a new renewable energy project stemming from a collaboration between the college and the Central Illinois Economic Development Authority.

The 5,546 panel solar farm will be developed by IL Solar of Litchfield on the north side of Blackburn College’s 80 acre campus.

“The collaboration between Blackburn, the authority and the contractor is a ‘best practices’ model for getting the most from limited resources,” said State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), whose district includes Blackburn’s campus. “As we move forward, it’s key that we find energy solutions that both protect our environment and lower energy costs.”

“Utility costs are Blackburn’s second largest expense. This facility will provide a significant savings,” said Dr. Julie Murray-Jansen, president of Blackburn College. “It will also play a role in the college’s student work plan. Students will be involved in monitoring the solar farm operation.”

“It is gratifying to see CIEDA and Blackburn form this partnership to reduce energy costs and give students hands on experience in a growth industry,” said Carlinville Mayor Deanna Demuzio.

The development authority will issue a $3 million low-interest bond to help finance the project. It will also benefit from credits under the 2017 Illinois Future Jobs Act.

“I was on campus this past weekend to speak at Blackburn’s commencement ceremony and there was a lot of buzz about this project,” Manar said. “This is going to be a major boon for the college and for its students, who will have the opportunity to get valuable hands-on experience as a result of this new development.”

The project is expected to be completed and in operation by late summer.

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