RIPLEY – One of Chautauqua County’s first large scale solar energy projects is moving forward after the county Industrial Development Agency approved tax incentives for the development.
Known as a Payment In Lieu of Taxes agreement, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development Mark Geise explains the incentive helped pave the way for the ConnectGen South Ripley Solar Project.
The project, he says, would not be feasible if the property were to be reassessed after construction. This agreement allows tax values to remain the same.
As part of the deal, over $60 million dollars in increased revenue to localities, like the Town of Ripley and nearby school districts, will be paid out in the project’s 30-year lifespan.
Geise says even though a state environmental review remains ongoing, the energy company is expected to break ground in early 2023, creating 220 construction jobs.
The build out will work to keep the arrays discrete in various rural locations.
“In this case, they (the arrays) are scattered on different properties, so it is not just one big farm, it is here and there, with eight to 10 property owners, occupying about 1,200 acers of panels,” explained Geise.
This is not the only solar project in the works locally. Geise goes on to say a few dozen projects are planned in various parts of the county.
The push for clean energy was launched by New York State, with the goal of moving to 70 percent renewable energy statewide.