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Plans for solar farm continue

The company hoping to develop a solar farm in St. Joseph County has completed its analysis of the proposed project and is ready to move forward.

Minnesota-based Geronimo Energy is eyeing between 150 and 200 acres in Mendon Township to develop what it is calling the White Pine Solar Project, a 20-megawatt project that company officials said will generate more than $6 million in local tax revenue over a 25-year period.

Lindsay Smith, director of marketing and communications for Geronimo, said the company’s first step is to establish a community outreach event to educate the public about Geronimo, the project and solar energy in general. Smith said she is working on organizing the community open house and would like to see it take place before the end of March.

Geronimo is hoping to begin operating the solar farm in either 2019 or 2020, she said.

Based on the company’s analysis of the Mendon Township proposal, it will require a capital investment of $29 million.

Though it will result in just one full-time job locally, the proposed solar farm would have an economic impact of $344,000 annually to Mendon Community Schools, $125,000 a year to St. Joseph County, $43,000 per 12 months to Mendon Township and $16,000 a year to other taxing districts. Smith said the figures are based on 2017 tax law.

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