Miller City solar farm proposal discussed

By Jennifer Peryam -

MILLER CITY — A proposal to bring a 150-megawatt solar farm near Miller City that would bring in $1.3 million in additional property tax revenue was discussed Tuesday night. An informational session was held at the Putnam County courthouse with Putnam County commissioners officiating.

Approximately 50 Miller City residents attended to learn more about the proposal.

“Tonight is for information and discussion to make sure we are on the same page. We would love to see the solar farm come into this county,” said Michael Lammers, Putnam County Commissioners chair.

Avangrid Renewables has been identified as the developer for the potential project. In 2012, the county passed a resolution to create an alternative energy zone.

Jeff Reinkemeyer, Avangrid Renewable director, said the renewable energy project would be a tax benefit.

“There could be over a million dollars a year tax benefit,” Reinkemeyer said. “Renewable energy is very competitive, including solar energy, so we are responding to customer requests in developing projects,” Reinkemyer said.

The next step would be to negotiate the tax rate and structure as well as benefits for the solar farm and to evaluate options. There also needs to be a period to evaluate impacts of the proposed solar farm.

John Leutz, legislative counsel for the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, said Miller City is considering annexing the property where the solar farm would be located.

“It is solely Avangrid’s choice of applying for a payment in lieu of taxes agreement,” Leutz said. “It is in Avangrid’s hands if they want to construct this energy project.”

If they choose to do that and meet the requirements for a qualified energy project determined by the director of the department of development services for Ohio, then because an energy zone has been established by the commissioners, they are automatically entitled to make a payment in lieu of taxes.

The range will be $7,000 per megawatt generating capacity that is distributed among the tax industries where that asset is located. They also would be required to pay an additional $2,000 per megawatt area to the county general fund.

Another option is choosing not to elect to ask for the pilot program and pay taxes like every other public utility pays their taxes.

“This project was created as an incentive for green energy for wind and solar generation and some other advance energy technologies,” Leutz said.

By Jennifer Peryam

Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.

Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.

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