Aqua Illinois, of course, delivers drinking water to much of Kankakee County.
The Bryn Mawr, Pa.-based company also operates wastewater treatment plants. Now, add a solar farm to the mix.
The company held a groundbreaking ceremony late last week in the southern portion of Manteno along the gravel portion of East Amberstone Road. The solar farm is immediately south of Aqua’s wastewater treatment plant.
While the location currently is little more than a 5-acre patch of farmland where only recently corn stalks had been standing, soon there will be some 1,764 solar array panels capturing energy which will be sourced into the ComEd electrical grid.
The panels will collect enough solar energy to provide 500 kilowatts of power. This amount of electricity would be enough to keep 120 houses powered on a daily basis.
Aqua Illinois area manager Angela Serafini explained just before the ceremonial shovels pierced the soil the solar field should be in operation before the end of the year.
Serafini said the solar electricity produced will save Manteno residents about $20,000 annually for the next 25 years as electricity costs to run the treatment plant will be largely eliminated.
“In today’s social and environmental climate, these commitments are more critical than ever,” Serafini said.
The solar field will be used to power Manteno’s wastewater treatment plant which Aqua purchased from Manteno in 2018 for $25 million. The Manteno treatment plant serves 9,000 people through 3,800 connections.
The solar array is to power the plant at 80 percent of its electric needs in the first year and is expected to provide 100 percent power in 2022.
This will be just the latest solar farm to be under construction in Kankakee County. There are at least eight solar farms throughout the county in some stage of construction. A solar farm near Splear Road just inside of Kankakee’s municipal boundaries is being constructed for Summit Ridge Energy of Arlington, Va., on 20 acres of property owned by area businessman Jerry Alexander.
SOL Systems, a Washington, D.C., construction company, will be constructing the Manteno solar array.
There are additional solar farms in Kankakee, Limestone, Grant Park, Aroma Township, Ganeer Township, Pilot Township and St. Anne.
A used car lot, Crown Automotive, will be locating its business at the southwest corner of West Station Street and South Washington Avenue in Kankakee in the location which recently had been a home for Arak Auto, a used vehicle dealership which relocated on the northeast corner of this intersection.
At last week’s Kankakee City Council meeting, a conditional use permit within the commercial-zoned district was granted by a 13-0 vote to allow for the dealership. The dealership, which includes a 3,100-square-foot building on the nearly half-acre lot, will be operated by Samar Dies. The request was previously approved by the Kankakee Planning Board.
Located at 305 S. Washington Ave., the dealership will not be allowed to have any more than 25 vehicles on the lot, which was once a home for a gas/service station. Vehicle repairs are not allowed at the site.
Council members also stressed they did not want to see vehicles parked on the sidewalk which had been a practice of past dealerships there. While that restriction was not part of the conditional use permit, Police Chief Frank Kosman was made aware. Kosman noted officers would make sure the restriction is followed.