Cassville site among Alliant’s 6 new solar projects

CASSVILLE, Wis. — Cassville was announced as one of six Wisconsin communities where new Alliant Energy solar projects will take place, a move that will financially benefit both the community and Grant County.

Alliant Energy announced the new projects Wednesday as part of its Clean Energy Blueprint, which aims to accelerate the company’s use of renewable energy. These six solar panel projects will be completed by the end of 2023, with a goal of 12 total projects complete by 2025.

Grant County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Ron Brisbois said he’s been in contact with Alliant Energy representatives about the project for several months, and the county welcomes the project. Two power plants in Cassville were shuttered in 2015, leaving the community without its major revenue source.

“In most cases, every township in rural Wisconsin could use an infusion of capital that these projects provide,” he said. “…When the two power plants shut down, that was a hit to the county.”

Alliant Energy has already worked with local landowners to lease 325 acres for the Cassville project, according to Alliant External Communications Manager Cindy Tomlinson. The company will file paperwork today to get approval for the project from the state and will begin work as soon as approval is received.

“We anticipate around this time next year to begin construction,” she said.

Cassville’s future solar panels are expected to generate 50 megawatts of energy to power not only the local community but the state as a whole.

In addition, Cassville and Grant County will collectively receive an estimated $200,000 in shared revenue over the next 30 years, which is the project’s life span. Tomlinson said that money can be used as the community sees fit, be it for schools, fire departments or park improvements.

“That would start to funnel into the community once the project is operational,” she said. “And during construction with crews on-site, we anticipate the local economy would have a boost on this, provided that COVID lifts and people can go back into restaurants.”

She added that it’s currently too early to say how many construction jobs the project will generate, but typically at least 100 people are employed for this type of project.

Brisbois said that the shared revenue funding coming into Grant County and Cassville is “impressive,” and he’s heard Grant County and Cassville are discussing using the shared revenue funds to update and maintain local infrastructure before discussing other uses.

“In terms of shared revenue, those funds have not been increasing historically over the years,” he said. “The cost of roads, infrastructure goes up because of inflation at least. The need for more revenue is always prevalent.”

Village of Cassville officials could not be reached for comment.