Council OKs tax break for solar park

Power company planning project on city’s west side

GREENFIELD — The developers of a solar park being constructed in Greenfield will receive a roughly $120,000 tax break from the city.

The Greenfield City Council this week approved a 10-year tax abatement for the Indiana Municipal Power Agency, which plans to build a solar panel park on 17 acres of undeveloped land on the city’s west side. Over the next 10 years, the agency is expected to pay about $881,800 in property taxes, city documents show.

Members approved the tax deduction after a public hearing, during which no residents commented on the proposal. The council also designated the land as an economic revitalization area since the project makes use of undeveloped land.

The agency is building a 11,030-panel solar farm off Windswept Road, north of Sawmill housing addition, which will produce enough energy to power roughly 500 homes, officials say. Indiana Municipal Power — which provides electricity to the city that is then passed on to residents — will invest about $4 million in the project.

Construction began on the site this week, said Jack Alvey, senior vice president of generation for the Indiana Municipal Power Agency. Construction is expected to last about three months, he said.

The project won’t result in any new jobs in Greenfield or lower utility bills, officials say.

City Council president Gary McDaniel said the city benefits in at least two ways from the project. First, officials were able to sell land that likely would have sat vacant for years. Now, when equipment is on the site, it will generate taxes that’ll go back to the city’s coffers. As a customer of Indiana Municipal Power, the city benefits when it creates energy locally because it doesn’t have to pay transmission fees, he said.

“This is going to go back into the (electric) grid, and we’re going to see some benefit from it,” McDaniel said.

In an effort to find sustainable ways to provide power to the communities it serves across the state, the power agency has constructed solar farms in 13 communities, including in Pendleton, Anderson and Peru.

The agency announced plans to build a solar panel farm in Greenfield last fall, and the sale of the land was completed last month, in which the agency paid $10,000 per acre to the city for ownership of the land for a total of about $170,000.

The power agency will cover all costs to build the project and pay for maintenance and upkeep expenses in the future. Alvey said the farm has a 35-45 year life expectancy, and maintenance will be required every few years to keep it fully functioning.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.