WATERTOWN — A Toronto solar developer is seeking a tax deal to help finance its 20-megawatt community solar project in the towns of Orleans and Clayton.
The Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency will review OYA Solar Inc.’s application for a payment-in-lieu-of-tax agreement on July 11. Members of the agency’s loan-review and alternative energy committees met with the developer for initial discussions Wednesday morning. Greg Rossetti, a principal of OYA, said obtaining a PILOT would help the developer securing the necessary financing for the project.
“It’s possible that if we don’t have a PILOT agreement in place, we won’t be able to get the project financed,” he said. “I’m going to be forever optimistic that this project is deserving of a PILOT.”
OYA wants to build four arrays, each one 5 megawatts, with a combined 88,000 panels spanning five properties in Orleans and in Clayton for its community solar project.
Developers of community solar projects sell energy directly to consumers, and their projects are designed to provide energy and financial benefits to multiple buyers through shared use
The PILOT would provide abatement on property taxes after construction Donald C. Alexander, CEO of the JCIDA’s sister agency, the Jefferson County Local Development Corp., said the particulars of the prospective PILOT will be fleshed out amidst talks between the agency, developer and affected taxing jurisdictions, which will occur once the application has been deemed complete.
“They took the first step, and I would say I’m encouraged by them,” Mr. Alexander said.
Mr. Rossetti said he hopes to begin construction this year after securing a PILOT agreement, which will allow him to capitalize on federal incentives before they dwindle.
The federal Solar Investment Tax Credit offers a 30 percent tax incentive for residential and commercial projects under construction by 2019, but the incentive drops to 26 percent in 2020, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. After 2021, the incentive will cease for residential arrays and fall to 10 percent for commercial arrays.
As it pursues additional financing, the developer can take comfort in having secured incentives from the NY-Sun’s Megawatt Block subsidy program for its project.
“We’ve invested a lot time, a lot of money, to get this started. There’s a real project,” Mr. Rossetti said. “Now we need a PILOT in place.”