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Look Out, California: One of the Country’s Largest Solar Arrays is Taking Shape in… Illinois?

A 593-megawatt project has begun construction near Springfield and will power O’Hare Airport and Chicago government building. The largest solar arrays operating in the United States are located in the kinds of sunny states you would expect—five in California, four in Texas and one in Arizona.

But a project that began construction last month in Illinois is going to be about as large or larger than all of them. The 593-megawatt Double Black Diamond Solar farm near Springfield is indicative of several trends in solar power, as projects grow ever larger and are built in places that get much less sun than the southwest. The developer, Swift Current Energy of Boston, is building the project to meet demand from corporations and local governments aiming to meet clean energy goals. Among the buyers is the Chicago city government, which has said that the project will provide most of the electricity used by municipal properties, including some giant power users like O’Hare and Midway airports and two water purification plants.

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