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Delaware County solar projects get tax abatement; construction begins in later years

By Stephanie Wiechmann, IPR News | Published on in Business, Government, Local News
The solar ordinance has taken several years to negotiate due to a vocal opposition. (Photo: FILE PHOTO)

Delaware County officials have approved tax abatements for two county solar power projects. As IPR’s Stephanie Wiechmann reports, the projects near Gaston and Albany won’t start construction for more than a year.

Just west of Gaston, the Meadow Forge solar project will encompass about 1,000 acres and generate 163 megawatts of power. The Chicago-based parent company says that’s enough to power 30,000 homes each day.

The project will lease the land for 35 years from 16 landowners. When construction begins – expected in early 2023 – it will create more than 100 temporary construction jobs. Then, there will be two permanent jobs on the solar site.

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Adrian Markocic is with North Carolina-based NARENCO – which is heading another solar project south of Albany and north and east of the Muncie Dragway. He says solar projects are good neighbors.

“Once complete, a solar farm is a passive, non-intrusive neighbor that generates no noise, light pollution, or odors.”

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The Hawthorn Solar project will encompass land on both sides of State Road 67 and generate 75 megawatts of power – or equivalent power for 15,000 homes. It is leasing from four property owners.

At this site, when construction begins – expected in late 2024 – it will create more than 200 temporary construction jobs. Then, there will be up to 7 permanent jobs on the solar site.

Before the county council voted on the tax abatements, no one spoke at public hearings on the two projects.