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Seven big solar farms proposed in rural Louisiana by 2024

2 months 2 weeks 5 days ago Saturday, July 03 2021 Jul 3, 2021 July 03, 2021 2:01 PM July 03, 2021 in News
Source: Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Solar power companies are looking to build at least seven big projects in rural Louisiana, including three in one unincorporated community.

State records reveal that previously undisclosed projects seeking economic incentives include three in the St. James Parish community of Vacherie and one each in Thibodaux, Bogalusa, Singer and Franklinton, The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate reported.

Proposed $200 million projects in Thibodaux and Bogalusa would produce up to 200 megawatts of power each. So would a $145 million project proposed in Singer. The projects proposed in Vacherie would produce 120, 90 and 80 megawatts, with a 50-megawatt facility proposed for Franklinton.

They would support 160 to 300 construction jobs, developers said.

Four would provide one permanent job. Bogalusa West PV I LLC and Thibodaux Solar Project LLC say their $200 million solar farms would each create five permanent jobs. Kontiki Holdings LLC, which plans a $145 million solar farm in the Beauregard Parish town of Singer, said it would create three permanent jobs.

Kontiki Holdings plans to start construction of Bearegard Solar in 2023 and finish in 2024. Kontiki is registered in Delaware on behalf of Next Era, the publicly traded umbrella company for utilities such as Florida Power and Light, records show.

The electricity is being marketed within and outside Louisiana to a variety of customers from industrial sites to utilities.

“Even if the electricity were sold to an offtaker outside the state the economic benefits would stay in the Parish,” said Bryan Garner, director of communications for NextEra Energy Resources. “It’s a low impact high value project — you don’t have to hire new teachers or first responders, it’s quiet, passive, creates revenue and actually preserves the land. The cost of decommissioning is borne by the developer.”

Proposals say the project in Franklinton and the two smaller ones in Vacherie would be completed in 2023, with the four largest finished in 2024.

Sunlight Road Solar LLC wants to build a $56 million solar farm along Sunlight Road in Franklinton.

In Vacherie, Vacherie Solar Energy Center’s $89 million project and a $100 million farm proposed by St. James Solar III LLC would both be located at the intersection of Highway 20 and Highway 3127. The largest of the three, proposed by St. Jacques Solar LLC, would cost $134 million.

Most of the projects are seeking Industrial Tax Exemption Program incentives, which could be up to 80% property tax abatement up to 10 years. Many are also seeking eligibility for the state’s Quality Jobs program a cash rebate to companies up to 6% for no more than 10 years in addition to state sales and use tax rebate on capital expenditures.

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