Developers of a 1,200-acre Jefferson County solar farm have delayed construction for two years to pursue federal financing.
Ranger Power, which is planning to build the 149-megawatt plant to produce electricity for Dairyland Power Cooperative, last month received permission from state regulators to postpone construction until June 2023 in order to apply for a low-interest loan from the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service, which has several programs to support construction and improvement of the electric grid in rural areas.
In order to qualify for the loan, the company must complete an environmental impact study, which typically takes about two years.
In a letter to the Public Service Commission, Ranger president Paul Harris said the financing would result in lower costs for Dairyland, which supplies electricity to 41 cooperative and municipal utilities serving about 279,000 customers across Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.
A company spokeswoman declined to say what loan program Ranger is pursuing.
Ranger and Dairyland say they are in the process of renegotiating the power purchase agreement.
Alliant Energy said the decision will allow it to avoid some $250 million in maintenance and upgrade costs.
Ranger is planning to start construction this fall on a separate but adjacent solar farm.
The 75-megawatt Crawfish River project, which received local permits last year, is one of six that Alliant Energy is seeking to buy as part of a proposed $900 million investment in solar generation tied to the retirement of its coal plants.