Onion River Solar is a proposed 150-megawatt solar generating facility to be located in southern Sheboygan County that will feature a prairie and pollinator environment. Ranger Power is developing the project and others in the state, including Badger State Solar and Crawfish River Solar, in Jefferson County, and Western Mustang Solar in northwest Wisconsin.
Photos from the North Star Solar project in North Branch, Minnesota, illustrate the type of pollinator and prairie habitat that will accompany Onion River. While grazing is not yet part of the Onion River project, the North Star Solar photos demonstrate the potential to graze livestock between solar panel rows, an exciting opportunity for solar in Wisconsin.
The Onion River Solar project will produce clean, cost-effective electric energy for Alliant Energy customers, provide a diversified income source for local farmers, and generate significant tax revenues for the town and county. This project can improve environmental outcomes ranging from reduced air emissions, reduced chemical use on local farmland, increased grassland and pollinator habitat and improved downstream water quality in parts of the Onion River watershed.
Onion River Solar is anticipated to avoid the generation of over 400 million pounds of CO2 per year. For more information on solar farms’ potential to reduce air emissions, you can see RENEW’s analysis of the 250 MW Darien Solar Farm’s health benefits.
The solar farm is expected to generate $250,000 per year in new revenue to the Town of Holland and $350,000 per year to Sheboygan County. Local governments can use these funds to meet pressing local budget priorities.
Onion River Solar represents a significant step forward to build Wisconsin’s renewable energy capacity and to shift away from fossil fuels.
The Public Service Commission is accepting comments on this project which must be received no later than Tuesday, March 16, 2021.