TWO CREEKS, Wis. (WBAY) -- Two new utility solar energy generating facilities will more than quadruple the solar capacity in Wisconsin.
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin unanimously approved the projects which would be the largest in the Midwest.
One of those facilities will be built on 1,300-acres of farm land in Manitowoc County south of Nuclear Road and east of Highway 42.
"Since May of last year, the process has been going through our normal approval process with the final decision here yesterday," said Martin Day with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.
The Commission approved a proposal from developer, Two Creeks Solar LLC., to move forward with the 150 megawatt solar electric generating facility called the Two Creeks Solar Project.
"We're investing in alternative energy, and we're proud to do that," said Bob Ziegelbauer, Manitowoc County Executive.
The project makes Northeastern Wisconsin a leader in renewable energy.
"I was very happy, very pleased," said Senator Robert Cowles, (R) Green Bay. "I think this is a win for consumers in this area, because solar has become cheaper. Technology has moved in the right direction. It's cheaper than putting up a natural gas plant or certainly a coal plant."
During public input sessions on the project, there were mixed reviews. People raised concerns about the agricultural loss, while others voiced support for the possibility for more alternative energy.
"I'm sure there will be some land use considerations where some people will not like this, but it's certainly better than having another type of power plant," said Cowles.
"It's less controversial than wind farms, and I think it is well received," said Ziegelbauer.
The developer continues to gather permits before starting construction at the end of the summer. The facility is expected to be operational by December 2020.
The solar energy will be available to Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPS) customers. There is no answer yet as to how much the new energy source will impact rates.