MOIRA –– The developer of a proposed small-scale solar array plans to meet with the Franklin County Industrial Development Agency within the next few weeks to discuss a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement for is project.

Community Power Group representative Alex Farkes told the Town Board on Tuesday that his company will be seeking a PILOT for the project, which involves the construction of a 5.8 megawatt solar generating facility on 35 acres of land. The facility would be a “community solar” facility, with the power generated sold to local property owners rather than fed into the state power grid, Farkes said.

However, CPG has to negotiate with the National Grid to have the power generated carried over the utility’s power lines, Farkes said. Those talks are ongoing and CPG officials hope to have them resolved by the end of the month, he said.

Power generated by the solar array would allow “a lot of local subscribers” to save roughly 10% off their current electrical bill, Farkes said.

Farkes’ presentation to the Moira board came a day after the Dickinson Town Board voted to opt out of Section 487 of the state Real Property Tax Law, which offers a default 15-year tax break to companies building renewable energy projects. Dickinson officials said renewable energy projects should be treated no differently than any other construction that adds value to a property and be taxed accordingly.

Property owners could include the increased taxes in their negotiations with energy developers leasing their land, Supervisor Sherry Smith said.

The vote would not necessarily prevent a developer from working out a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for their project, but it does ensure the municipality will be involved in any such discussions. The Chateaugay Central School District and the Malone Town Board approved similar measures when faced with wind power projects in their respective jurisdictions.

CPG had originally proposed building the facility on properties in both towns, but the schematic of the project presented Tuesday showed the entire facility located within Moira, just northwest of Alburg Road and about 500 feet north of Hazen Road, also called the Town Line Road.

The company has small-scale solar projects built or underway in more than 20 states across much of the country. The nearest CPG project is a seven-megawatt facility currently in development in the Mohawk Valley.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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