ANDERSON – The next step toward the approval of the 120-megawatt Lone Oak Solar Farm in northern Madison County will be considered by the County Council.
On Tuesday, the Madison County Council will consider two requests from Invenergy, developer of the estimated $110 million project, for an expansion of the economic development revitalization area and tax abatements for the project.
The Madison County Board of Zoning Appeals last month approved a special use for the project that included a change in the required setback from nonparticipating residential structure and a bond for the decommissioning of the project.
The BZA approval requires a 500-foot setback from nonparticipating residential structures and a 200-foot setback from the property lines.
It allows Invenergy to negotiate with nonparticipating property owners to decrease the setback to 250 feet from a residential structure and 100 feet from a property line.
The company must also secure a $5.6 million bond for when the solar farm is decommissioned.
The Madison County Council previously approved an economic development revitalization district for 850 acres for the planned Lone Oak Solar Farm.
But with the increased setback requirements, the company is seeking to expand the revitalization area.
Company officials didn’t respond for a request to determine how much additional acreage is being sought in the designation.
The council will also consider a request for 10-year tax abatements on both real and personal property.
Invenergy is seeking a traditional 10-year abatement (100% abatement on investment the first year, declining by 10% per year).
The economic development plan between Madison County and Invenergy includes a provision that the company will make a one-time payment of $750,000 to the county for future economic development projects.
Invenergy will pay the county $6,250 for each megawatt of capacity.
Councilman Jerry Alexander previously stated the one-time payment would be $850,000.
The proposed agreement states Invenergy cannot request any future tax abatements for the project and can transfer the agreement with the county to another entity without council approval.
The BZA approved Invenergy’s request that construction on the project has to commence no later than Dec. 31, 2023.
The project spurred emotions among those in support and against the development.
Opponents maintain it will impact property values and, for some residents, their property would be surrounded by solar panels and it was taking prime farm land out of production
Supporters contend it will allow families to keep their farms in the future, provide additional taxes for local units of government, and the ground can be returned to agricultural use when the project ends.
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.
Who: Madison County Council
What: Tax abatement request for Lone Oak Solar Farm project
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Council chambers, Madison County Government Center