ANDERSON — Action on a 10-year tax abatement for the proposed Lone Oak solar farm has been delayed until July.
The Madison County Council on Tuesday tabled a request from Invenergy for a 10-year tax abatement on both real and personal property.
The council did vote to approve an amended economic development revitalization designation for the project that was originally proposed on 850 acres in northern Madison County.
Councilman Pete Heuer made the motion to table the requested tax abatement until the council’s July 9 meeting.
Heuer said the decision to table was to allow the community a chance to comment.
The Lone Oak Solar Farm project is an estimated $100 million project that will generate between 110 and 120 megawatts of electricity.
Invenergy has agreed to pay $850,000 to the county once the project is operational.
The company maintains it will pay $26.4 million over the 35-year life of the project, not including property taxes paid by owners that have leased ground to the company.
Invenergy is seeking a traditional 10-year abatement (100% abatement on investment the first year, declining by 10% per year, until project is paying 100% taxable value at year 11) based on the minimum investment of $100 million in the county.
The expansion of the economic development revitalization area was needed because the Madison County Board of Zoning Appeals approved a special use exception for the project, which increased the size of setbacks from nonparticipating property owners.
The special use requires a 500-foot setback from nonparticipating residential structures and 200 feet from property lines. However, an agreed waiver between Lone Oak and each nonparticipating resident would make possible a setback of 250 feet from a residential structure and/or a property line setback of 100 feet.
Katya Samoteskul, project manager for Invenergy, said the amended revitalization area represents a slight change.
“The setbacks, when applied, cut down the area for the project by one-third,” she said. “We need to acquire more land.”
The council approved the revision without any public comment.
“We’re just extending the area,” Council President Anthony Emery said. “This is not the final approval of the project. The scope of the project has not changed.”
Before construction can begin, the Lone Oak Solar Farm needs approvals from the Madison County Drainage Board and the Madison County Board of Commissioners.
Following the meeting Samoteskul said there is no cap on the additional land that could be acquired for the project. She said there is no set number for the additional acres needed.
“We’re compensating for the loss from the additional setbacks,” she said.
Samoteskul said the 30-day delay for the tax abatement approval would not impact the timeline for the project. She said construction would start in 2022 and in operation in 2023.
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.
Who: Madison County Council
What: Consideration of tax abatement for Lone Oak Solar Farm project
When: July 9 at 6 p.m.
Where: Council chambers, Madison County Government Center, 16 E. Ninth St., Anderson