The Linn County Board of Supervisors has set dates for three public meetings to review and consider the proposed industrial-scale Coggon Solar project.
The three meetings, all at the Linn County Fairgrounds in Central City, will be held Monday, Jan. 10; Thursday, Jan. 13; and Tuesday, Jan. 18. All three meetings will begin at 6 p.m., and attendees will have the option to attend in-person or virtually.
Coggon Solar LLC, an investor group led by Boise, Idaho-based Clenera Energy and the Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO), has proposed a 750-acre solar installation on largely agricultural property just west of Coggon in northern Linn County, which would mark the first industrial-scale solar project in the county.
Clenera operates 25 large-scale solar projects across the United States, including a 127-megawatt project near Wapello, in Louisa County, that began generating power in spring 2021.
As proposed, the Coggon Solar project would generate an estimated 100 megawatts of electrical power and involve installation of approximately 325,000 solar panels. Under the plan, submitted to Linn County officials July 9, Clenera would sell generated power to CIPCO under a 20-year power-purchase agreement, similar to an agreement already in place with the Wapello solar project. If installed, the project would have a total projected production life of about 35 years.
All utility-scale solar projects in Linn County require an application to rezone the area to be used for the solar installation to (RE) Renewable Energy Overlay Zoning District. The rezoning application must undergo a review by the Technical Review Committee, the Planning & Zoning Commission, and three readings by the Board of Supervisors. The review process is designed to review all applications thoroughly against the development standards outlined in Linn County’s utility-scale solar ordinance.
The county’s Technical Review Committee met to review the project Nov. 15. The Planning & Zoning Commission met on Nov. 29 to review the Coggon Solar rezoning application, voting 6-1 to recommend denial of the rezoning request. The next and final step in the review process is the Board of Supervisors meetings.
Each meeting will have two opportunities for public comment: the first opportunity is at the beginning of the meeting and the second opportunity is at the end of the meeting. Comments will be time-limited. Public comments can be submitted in advance to email@example.com and will be summarized publicly at the meeting by Linn County staff.
The Board of Supervisors will consider the application from Coggon Solar LLC and make a decision to deny or approve the rezoning based on the standards for review contained in Linn County’s code of ordinances.
The decision to deny or approve may be made at any of the three consideration meetings; however, final consideration and approval cannot occur until all three readings have occurred, county officials said. A decision to postpone the decision may also be made at the first or second consideration meetings. If during any of the three readings a majority vote to reject the application is made, the application will not move forward.
All recommendations on the rezoning application, including the final decision by the Board of Supervisors, must be based on the development standards for utility-scale solar in Linn County’s code of ordinances. Additional standards may be imposed as part of the review process.
Attendees may register in advance to attend any of the three January meetings virtually, at the following links: