Randolph County is helping the State of Illinois lead the way in new alternative energy installations. Sol Systems of Washington, DC and Tenaska of Omaha, Nebraska partnered to create the company, Tilden Solar. Purple Martin Media of Randolph County helped facilitate the project locally. The Tilden Solar Project will occupy 1,200 acres of farm ground south of Tilden in northern Randolph County. Construction will begin in 2023 and when completed, the installation will generate 150 megawatts of power, enough to serve 28,000 Illinois homes.
“In the last ten years, Randolph County has lost millions in revenue as the country transitions from fossil fuel-generated electricity to green energy alternatives,” said Christopher Martin, economic development coordinator of Randolph County. “It is a trilogy of loss for our community. First, losing coal sales tax. Then the Baldwin power plant shut down one of its three generating units, reducing the tax income to the county. Ultimately, the plant is slated to completely cease coal-fired operations in 2025.”
Randolph County, the Randolph County Progress Committee, and the Community Foundation of Randolph County having been working together with one goal in mind, to find ways to replace the lost revenue. “Randolph County is fortunate to have the “big three” in economic development,” added Martin. “Agribusiness, mining, and manufacturing. Our diverse manufacturing base is expanding and adding jobs. In fact, finding employees is a new issue we are addressing. The county’s farmers produce more than 220,000 acres of corn, wheat, and soybeans each year. The mining and movement of scrubber stone on the Mississippi and Kaskaskia Rivers is thriving.”
According to Martin, the Tilden Solar Project will provide 300 construction jobs, two full-time operator jobs, and two part time jobs. The installation will generate $25 million to Randolph County’s gross domestic product during construction, and $556,000 annually during each year of its thirty-year operation. The project means $19 million in local tax revenues, including $363,000 annually to local schools for thirty years. Finally, millions in landowner payments, much of which will be recirculated locally.
“We are grateful to Tenaska, Sol Systems, and Purple Martin Media for bringing this project to fruition,” added Martin. “It’s green, the project will generate a substantial revenue stream to the county and local schools and will provide jobs during construction and after. The Tilden Solar Project is a major investment in Randolph County.”