1,400-acre solar farm proposed in northwestern Indiana

Plans for a solar energy farm on 1,400 acres in northwestern Indiana have won the backing of local officials.

The Lake County Council voted 6-1 to support a zoning change that would allow construction of the estimated $200 million project in a rural area, about 20 miles south of Gary.

Chicago-based Invenergy has proposed the 200-megawatt solar panel farm to produce enough electricity for more than 40,000 homes. Construction is scheduled to start in 2022, with the farm becoming operational in 2024.

The county planning commission will need to conduct a public hearing on zoning changes that would permit large solar installations, instead of only the small residential or agricultural solar power currently allowed.

Councilwoman Christine Cid of East Chicago said she supports solar energy but voted no because she believes a more comprehensive review is needed for such a large project.

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