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Tax Breaks OK’d For Solar Farm In Hanover

A new solar farm is one step closer coming to northern Chautauqua County.

On Tuesday, the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency approved financial assistance to Hanover PV, LLC, including Payment in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) agreement providing real property tax abatement, sales tax abatement and mortgage recording tax abatement for a new community solar farm to be placed at 1321 routes 5 & 20 in Silver Creek.

The project still needs final approval from the Hanover Town Board.

According to the IDA, the project will generate clean renewable solar energy to sell to the local community at a discount under the New York State Electric and Gas Corporation’s Community Distributed Generation Program. Community Distributed Generation is a program offered by NYSEG which allows ratepayers to sign up to purchase bill credits from a local solar project, thereby supporting the production of 100% renewable energy in the community. Though it is not a requirement of the program, these bill credits are generally offered at a discount so that CDG customers will wind up paying less on the total NYSEG bill than non-subscribing NYSEG customers.

The Hanover PV solar project includes construction of a 5-megawatt A/C solar powered electrical generation facility (solar farm) on 31.14 acres of vacant unfarmed land located in the town of Hanover.

County IDA officials said the development will be situated approximately 12 acres back from the routes 5 & 20 thoroughfare at the far rear portion of a 45-acre parcel that has been actively marketed for development by the landowner for over 10 years. The 12 acres of real estate frontage remains available for future retail or commercial development.

The project is expected to create 30 construction jobs and one half-time permanent position.

The county IDA has reviewed this project twice before. Both times, board member Mark Odell voted against it. During Tuesday’s county IDA meeting, Odell, who is also a Republican county legislator from Brocton, continued his opposition to the solar farm.

“I feel the existing potential subsidies tax breaks are a really huge in comparison to the potential long-term employment,” he said before the vote. “I’m not against this technology by any means. It’s real, it’s great. It’s the subsidies that I’m against.”

The county IDA approved the project by a vote of 7-1.

Hanover PV, LLC is owned by RIC Development LLC. After the vote, Jon Rappe, company president, thanked the IDA for its support.

“We are pleased to be working with the Chautauqua County IDA to implement our shared goal of supporting the economic health of the region while building the clean energy infrastructure of the future with the construction of the Hanover Solar Farm,” he said. “The land on which the project will be built is commercial property on Routes 5 & 20 owned by Rattlesnake Enterprises, LLC The value of the property will be enhanced significantly by dedicating the road frontage to future retail while using the rear portion of the lot to collect lease revenue from the solar farm. As it quietly produces clean energy for the next 30 years at a community scale, it will add diversity to the production economy of Chautauqua County while being a good neighbor to the surrounding community of Hanover.”

While the county IDA board of directors has been examining this project the last two months, Hanover officials have been discussing it for more than a year. Rattlesnake Enterprises landowner Steve Valvo, and more recently with RIC Energy, have been working on the project with the town board since August 2019. In June, Hanover passed a solar zoning law.

Giving credit to the entire Hanover Town Board, Supervisor Todd Johnson said in a statement: “We are looking forward to whatever we can do for renewable energy and to promote it within the town. The town board anticipates passing our approval in December.”

Should that happen, the Hanover PV, LLC development will commence in the spring of 2021 and is expected to be fully operational by summer 2021.

Mark Geise, Chautauqua County’s deputy county executive for economic development and CEO of the CCIDA said, “Hanover PV, LLC and RIC Development have been terrific to work with through the project process. With the town’s recent adoption of a solar law for new development there we are pleased we can support this project.”

Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel said, “We are glad the county and CCIDA could support the town’s wishes for this solar development.”

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