Two more solar farms are coming to Chautauqua County, under a plan by an Atlanta-based alternative-energy developer that wants county tax breaks to support the projects.
Dimension Renewable Energy, which develops community solar projects and utility energy storage systems, wants to put up a pair of solar-panel arrays on 44 acres of land it would purchase in the Town of Sheridan, at 3323 Werle Road.
Both projects - through Sheridan CSG 1 LLC and Sheridan CSG 2 LLC, respectively -would generate 4.125 megawatts of solar energy, and each would cost $7.225 million to construct, funded entirely by Dimension.
The developer is asking the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency for $289,000 in sales tax benefits and an unusual 25-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes benefit for its property taxes on each project, but on the improvements only, not the land.
"Without the agency's assistance, this project is not economically feasible," the company said in its application to the IDA.
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The annual tax payment would start at $3,800 per megawatt – or $15,675 per project – and increase by 2% a year, ultimately reaching $25,212 for each project in the final year. That's a total of just over $500,000 in payments for each project over 25 years, or $1 million.
That would deviate from the standard IDA tax policy, but the IDA says that's necessary to encourage the project and to "advance the job opportunities, general prosperity and economic welfare of the people of the State of New York and Chautauqua County."
Dimension has more than 100 energy projects in its pipeline, with over 600 megawatts of energy generation in active development in 23 states, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and all six New England states.
The company is led by co-founders and co-CEOs Rafael Dobrzynski and Sam Youneszadeh.
The agricultural land – located within the Dunkirk Central School District – is currently owned by Mark and Therese Rivard, but Dimension has it under contract for $655,000.
The project would include the panels, racking system, switchboards, inverters and transformers, underground and overhead electrical lines and poles, fencing, a concrete pad, access roads, landscaping and site improvements.
The project will not create any full-time jobs, as Dimension will contract with local third parties to handle maintenance needs. If approved, construction would begin by October, with completion by June 1, 2022.