Invenergy moving forward with solar farm

·2 min read

Jul. 2—ANDERSON — The company wanting to construct a solar energy facility in northern Madison County plans to go forward with the project.

Invenergy put on hold the Lone Oak Solar Energy Center, a $110 million project, in 2019 after the Madison County Council voted to rescind the economic revitalization area designation, effectively eliminating the possibility of obtaining a tax abatement.

Last week the Indiana Court of Appeals decided not to accept a civil lawsuit filed by opponents of the project for judicial review. The opponents raised several concerns about membership on the Board of Zoning Appeals and the potential impact on property values.

Katya Samoteskul with Invenergy said Thursday the company was pleased with the Indiana Court of Appeals outcome.

"We are hopeful the county will consider approving an abatement for the project," she said. "We are grateful for the many supportive landowners and community members that are excited about the project and its benefits.

"We look forward to continuing to work closely with local communities to deliver on our commitments," Samoteskul said.

Invenergy still has options on the properties that are part of the project, she said.

"We are hoping to start construction as early as next year," Samoteskul said.

"Solar brings many benefits to the communities such as jobs, economic investment and additional tax revenue, in addition to providing a clean source of energy."

Madison County Councilman Jerry Alexander said he has had several conversations with Invenergy.

"The only way to make it happen is to get a workable agreement," he said. "The two concerns is the assessed value of the project and will the county grant a tax abatement."

Alexander said Randolph County has three solar projects that generate $2 million annually in tax revenues.

"The economic impact of solar projects is nothing short of incredible," he said. "The use of those funds is not restricted, unless included in an ordinance."

The BZA in May 2019 voted to approve a special use for the original project that will produce 120 megawatts of electricity. The approval included a 500-foot setback from nonparticipating property owners. It also included an extension of time for construction to start no later than Dec. 31, 2023, and increased the bond amount for the decommissioning of the solar farm to $5.6 million.

Invenergy said the additional acreage was required because of the increased setback requirements.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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