Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Justin Catanoso at The Business Journal: "Question on solar farm: Is the project worth it?"

"North Carolina...’s sweetest deal is the one that is least known by local governments.

In 2008, ...the N.C. General Assembly passed a law that exempts “solar electric systems”
from 80 percent of local property taxes.

...Dan Lynch, who leads industry recruitment in Greensboro,
was surprised to learn about the 80 percent local tax break...

...For the last several weeks,
Lynch has been hustling to see how he can cobble together 4,000 acres of land i
n smaller increments in the Triad to accommodate a start-up Florida company
called National Solar Power,
which claims to want to build the largest solar farm in North America
— a 400 megawatt project that is said to cost $1.4 billion.

Lynch confirmed that National Solar executives,
in a meeting with Greensboro officials last week,
backed away from their original estimate that their solar farm,
when built out, would create 120 permanent jobs.

Chances are, the project would generate just a handful.

So if there are few new jobs
and very little local new property tax revenue to realize,
why bother with this project?

...“If we can do this project in increments of 40 to 200 acres,
we might be able to make it work,” Lynch says.
“It all depends on what they are willing to pay for land.”

...“We can still get 20 percent (of the possible tax revenue generated),
and that’s better than nothing,” he says."

Justin Catanoso

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