Another solar energy facility for Bourbon County is in the initial stages.
Earlier this year Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative put up solar arrays at 135th and Range Roads in the northern part of the county.
To view that story: Heartland Creates Solar Farm To Generate Energy For Local Members
On November 13, during the Bourbon County Commission meeting, Bourbon County Counselor Justin Meeks presented the commissioners with four contracts with NextEra Energy to be signed for solar energy production in the southwest part of the county.
NextEra Energy is the world’s largest utility company, according to its website.
“For more than 20 years, NextEra Energy Resources has been investing in Kansas and is committed to continued renewable energy development,” said Laura Gies, NextEra Energy Resources Communication Specialist.
“Hinton Creek Solar, LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, is a proposed photovoltaic solar energy facility for Bourbon County,” she said. “The proposed project will have the capacity to generate approximately 400 megawatts of solar energy that is able to power about 50,000 homes.”
“Developing a solar project is a multi-year process, which includes assessing existing transmission infrastructure, landowner and county officials’ interest, as well as conducting environmental surveys among other considerations to determine whether this community is right for a renewable energy project,” she said. “Hinton Creek Solar is in the initial stages.”
“Renewable energy projects, like the proposed solar project, are attractive to local communities, as they provide numerous economic benefits, including good jobs and the potential for millions of dollars in additional tax revenue, which can be used to enhance schools, roads, and essential services,” she said.
“Hinton Creek Solar will create hundreds of construction jobs, and our goal is to hire as many qualified workers as possible from the local area,” she said.
Bourbon County Regional Economic Development Inc.(REDI) has been working on this project with NextEra, Commissioner Jim Harris said during the November 13 commissioners’ meeting.
The site will be in the southwest part of the county, with 27 community members agreeing to put a portion of the solar facility on their properties.
The following are the signed agreements as provided on the county’s website:
Here is a brief look at parts of two of the agreements:
The development agreement document signed is made between the Board of County Commissioners for Bourbon County and Hinton Creek Solar, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, whose address is 700 Universe Boulevard, Juno Beach, FL 33408, according to the document provided by the county.
The developer, NextEra Energy, intends to construct one or more project companies or phases and operate a solar project, commonly referred to as the Hinton Creek Solar Project, to be located on privately-owned land within the county and includes photovoltaic solar panels, battery storage, inverters, solar monitoring equipment, substations, collection lines, access roads, temporary construction areas, operation and maintenance facilities, and other infrastructures relating to the solar project, according to the document.
The developer has or will enter into lease agreements, easement agreements, and forms of landowner consent documents with the participating landowners within the solar project area.
The county intends to consider the orderly development, construction, operation, and maintenance of the solar project.
The county acknowledges and agrees that all permits and approvals required for the solar project have been granted and substantial amounts of work have been completed, according to the signed agreement.
According to Kansas law, property used to produce and generate electricity using renewable energy resources (including solar) is exempt from all property or ad valorem taxation for ten taxable years immediately following the taxable year in which construction or installation of such property is completed and upon the filing of such application for exemption, according to the contributions document provided by the county.
The developer shall make the following contributions to the county:
One initial payment of $1,000 per megawatt of installed photovoltaic capacity of the project made within 30 days after the start of construction. If the project is constructed in more than one phase, each phase shall make separate initial payment.
An annual contribution of $1,500 per megawatt of installed photovoltaic capacity of the project by January 15 of each year…and continuing through the 9th anniversary of the initial contribution date, for a total of 10 annual contributions. If the project is constructed in more than one phase, each phase shall make separate annual contributions.