How To Tax Jefferson County's Growing Solar Projects

How To Tax Jefferson County's Growing Solar Projects

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In the last year, solar panel arrays have gone on line in the towns of Watertown and Hounsfield. But, those projects are just the beginning.

"They're coming fast, there's a number of them coming," said Jefferson County Legislature Chair Scott Gray.

There are also two projects proposed in the town of Lyme, two in Orleans, one in Adams, and another in Rodman.

Some are smaller scale projects that'll produce less than five megawatts; those typically cover a couple dozen acres of land.

Others are larger. One proposal in Orleans would build three separate 20 megawatt arrays.

Because these types of projects are so new and each one is unique, the county is constantly updating its policy for taxing them.

"Basically what we're saying is that you have a certain level of taxable obligation to this community if you're gonna come in here and develop as a commercial power producer," said Gray.

In December, the county split renewable energy into 3 different categories so it could determine how to tax each one based on its size and how the power will be used.

"We want to identify the benefit that you're gonna bring to our community," said Gray.

As more of these projects pop up, the county will also have to consider if there's a limit on how many it wants to approve. 

For now, the list of proposals continues to grow.

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