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  (Source: Sincerely Sustainable)

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Farm will provide tax boosts and jobs for the surrounding area

New York will soon receive its first solar farm thanks to the Green County Industrial Development Agency (IDA), who is purchasing the land in Coxsackie, and Cornerstone Power Development, who will lease the 128 acres of land. 

The $60 million solar farm will be a 15-megawatt facility, but could grow to 20-megawatts. It is expected to generate $2.6 million in tax revenue over the next 25 years, which is a significant boost for the town of Coxsackie. 

"It has a current agricultural exemption and it generates about $1,100 a year," said Sandy Mathes, IDA Executive Director. "If we were to increase that by three percent per year for the next 25 years, that property would generate about $45,000 in total taxes. Under this project and the plan that we expect to implement, that number would go to $2.6 million providing incredibly valuable new revenue to our taxing jurisdictions."

The construction of this new solar farm is also expected to generate jobs. During the construction phase, 25 to 30 jobs will be required. After the solar farm is completed, five to six full-time positions will be needed to run it. 

The use of utility-scale solar fields is not as common in the northeastern U.S. as it is in western states like California and Arizona because there is considerably less sunlight in this area (which makes large scale use of solar fields not so cost-effective). But with the price of solar panels going down, a solar farm has become a beneficial addition and will help New York (and eventually other U.S. states, hopefully) leap into the world of renewable energy

"As the economy improves again, we're going to need new power plants," said Daniel Somers, a Cornerstone Power Development executive. "We feel that solar is starting to make sense."

Coxsackie's solar farm is not the only farm currently in-progress in New York. According to Mathes, a large-scale solar farm is being built on Long Island as well, but the Coxsackie farm is expected to be completed first. 

In addition to building the utility-scale solar field, the IDA will also create a program that will allow businesses and homes to utilize solar power as well by installing smaller versions of the solar equipment on their buildings/homes.

"We will hold anyone's hand that wants us to," said Mathes. "We want to take away the intimidation."

The solar farm in Croxsackie will be built between Flint Mine Road and Farm to Market Road, and is expected to begin construction next year. It will bring electricity to thousands of homes by 2012 when it is sold into the electrical grid. 

"This is a great project and great use of that property," said Alexander Betke, town supervisor.

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Pessimist here
By siliconvideo on 7/27/2010 11:55:50 AM , Rating: 5
I'm pessimistic about this project. I think the county would have a better balanced financials if they eliminated the bureaucratic positions that came up with this proposal.

As we all know New York is a Northern state with low solar incidence due to angle to the sun and clouds compared to southern states like Arizona.

I'd like to see the full cost benefit calculations to see what my final dollars per kilowatt hour will be at the house compared to coal or nuclear energy. If someone can do the math or point me to a link, I'd appreciate it.

RE: Pessimist here
By puckalicious on 7/27/10, Rating: 0
RE: Pessimist here
By siliconvideo on 7/27/2010 12:38:11 PM , Rating: 2
The initial premise here is that the county wants to increase tax revenue, presumably to balance their budget. Why must the first step by government entities always be to raise taxes. In this case all I was asking for was does this make economic sense to spend more tax dollars (subsides are just other peoples tax dollars) to increase the tax revenues of one county.

In this equation of course must go all the factors you mentioned along with the willingness to pay more for carbon neutral energy. The poor will always want the lowest cost energy available while the better off can afford to spent a little more to support their ethics. The cost of energy effect the cost of everything we need or purchase including food, cars and medicine...

Germany is a good example but I've not read up on it's full cost over the life of their projects so it's hard for me to comment on.

A better solution for this county might be just to reduce civil employees and save their salaries instead. I'm not judging one path or the other. I'd just like to see the full cost benefit before I can agree this is the right path for this county to do.

RE: Pessimist here
By FITCamaro on 7/27/2010 12:50:05 PM , Rating: 5
Love it how you leave the fact that it isn't practical. The county could have spent that $60 million on something a lot better than 6 permanent jobs. "Only" $10 million per job on something that will generate $2.6 million in revenue over 25(!) years. Yeah sounds like a winner to me.

This is nothing but our tax dollars from the stimulus package being wasted for a green agenda and to say "See! We created jobs!". Solar is only economically feasible when you and I pay for it.

And just because Germany wastes its money on solar power doesn't mean we have to. How much actual electricity does it get out of that supposed 8.8 GW? About 6 nuclear plants can generate that, take up far less land so it can be used for other purposes, cost less, and provide the power 99% of the time.

RE: Pessimist here
By corduroygt on 7/27/2010 1:05:49 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't see anywhere in the article that this plant is being funded by federal tax dollars, I hope it isn't the case.

If the power company is paying for it, they're free to waste their money as they please and I have no problems with that.

RE: Pessimist here
By quiksilvr on 7/27/2010 2:43:40 PM , Rating: 2
Get used to FIT going off the handle about the Obama Administration and nuclear power whenever you see the word "solar" and "taxes" in the article.

RE: Pessimist here
By Belard on 7/27/2010 4:01:15 PM , Rating: 2
You get nervous if there is Obama and Jello. So what is your point?

Where were you when Bush gave the rich tax cuts, which adds trillions to the deficit? Where were you when Bush and company faked the intel about Iraq and now there is over $1trillion spent and 4,300+ dead Americans... over a LIE!

RE: Pessimist here
By Belard on 7/27/2010 4:06:58 PM , Rating: 3
OH... and what about OIL and TAXES? Look up how much EXXON pays in Taxes and their profits. Guess what, nobody makes more money than EXXON - yet their taxes are nothing but gas fumes.

Tax break to Wind, Solar - is re-newable. OIL is not infinite... WE will run out... proof? OFF-SHORE Drilling? Why do that, unless there is so little on land. It costs a WHOLE lot more to drill off shore than on land. And it'll take hundreds of million of years for OIL to replenished.

And you may want to re-think your sources when they EDIT video and publicly tell people "My goal is to take Obama down". Thats rather... un-American, don't you think?

RE: Pessimist here
By PaterPelligrino on 7/28/2010 12:45:04 AM , Rating: 4
Exxon paid no taxes in 2009


Exxon tries to limit the tax pain with the help of 20 wholly owned subsidiaries domiciled in the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands that (legally) shelter the cash flow from operations in the likes of Angola, Azerbaijan and Abu Dhabi. No wonder that of $15 billion in income taxes last year, Exxon paid none of it to Uncle Sam, and has tens of billions in earnings permanently reinvested overseas.

In fact, in 2008, the Government Accountability Office found that “ two out of every three United States corporations paid no federal income taxes from 1998 through 2005 .”

RE: Pessimist here
By Belard on 7/29/2010 8:14:08 AM , Rating: 2
WOW! That is SOOOOO American of them! Wait, they are not officially American companies any more.

Now if there was some law or way we could keep companies from screwing with us and state their HOME country. Somehow I don't think a P.O. box on an island counts as a CORP. headquarters for a multi-billion dollar company!

In english, we call it a scam.

But Teabaggers always suck up to these guys. They think by SUPPORTING the abuse by these companies and the SUPER rich, they can pretend to think like such people. Its sad.

Its kind of like that iPhone video on Youtube... where no matter what, the idiot wants an iPhone. Here:

RE: Pessimist here
By smitty3268 on 7/27/2010 3:28:52 PM , Rating: 2
+1. I also hope no tax money was involved in this, and see nothing in the article to suggest that it was. It sounds like they're just patting themselves on the back for getting a company to invest money in their county, like they always do when they find a company willing to spend large amounts of money.

RE: Pessimist here
By smitty3268 on 7/27/2010 3:36:38 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm, the original article does say this:

But Somers said the cost of solar panels has decreased enough to make building in places like New York worthwhile. New York state also has incentives to support large-scale renewable energy projects.

But it doesn't mention what those incentives are - tax breaks (like many businesses get) or what. It does seem clear that any incentives are coming from the state, though, and not the local govt. which was proud about all the new money that was going to be coming into their town.

RE: Pessimist here
By tng on 7/27/2010 4:07:40 PM , Rating: 2
Those 6 jobs that they are going create? How much do they pay? $40K, $50K?

If you take into account what a job actually costs with healthcare, Social Security taxes and add that in they could really cost them conservitively about $80K per year per person. This comes to about $12 million over the 25 year term, so they are getting more than just what is quoted.

RE: Pessimist here
By lelias2k on 7/27/10, Rating: 0
What for?
By Jaybus on 7/27/2010 11:55:29 AM , Rating: 4
This is a political move. It's impact on power production is almost entirely meaningless. Why is this plant even being built? It seems the goal is tax revenue, or more precisely, funneling federal funding (subsidies paid to the power company) to the local government (in the form of property taxes on the plant). What a joke.

RE: What for?
By cjohnson2136 on 7/27/2010 12:08:32 PM , Rating: 2
I agree they said it would cost 60 million to build and create jobs but they are only creating 25-30 temp jobs and 5-6 permenant jobs how does that quailfy as making a difference. Also it could supply a few thousands homes but how many homes are in new york seems like a huge waste of many for not supplying as many homes

RE: What for?
By FITCamaro on 7/27/2010 12:37:18 PM , Rating: 2
Its even more idiotic considering New York is covered in snow for a few months of the year. And its cloudy quite a bit as well. This thing will be lucky to put out 50% of its maximum power rating for an entire year.

More evidence that ideology, not common sense and practicality, drives the green movement.

RE: What for?
By corduroygt on 7/27/2010 1:02:48 PM , Rating: 2
I'm surprised nobody spotted this before you, the first thing I thought was "New York for a solar plant? WTF?". I've lived in NY for years and it's by far not a sunny place that you'd set up solar panels, especially when we have all this cheap desert land in the soutwest.

RE: What for?
By gamerk2 on 7/27/2010 4:36:36 PM , Rating: 2
Why not? I've been solar powered for years; heck, LIPA pays ME for excess power.

Granted, Solar Farms have no purpose whatsoever; per-unit placement is a FAR better allocation of resources in my mind, but NY needs more power, and this is far cheaper then maintaining a new full-size power plant (which is very politically inconvienient to place)

RE: What for?
By vortmax2 on 7/27/2010 3:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
Here's a good example of the author's ideology:

"a solar farm has become a beneficial addition and will help New York (and eventually other U.S. states, hopefully ) leap into the world of renewable energy."

I'm all for renewabe energy, but current tech solar farms in areas with significant cloud cover and snow just isn't practical for the money.

What a joke
By zibby on 7/27/2010 12:25:29 PM , Rating: 2
So lets sum i up.
NYS area they will produce power for 5hr per day average.
That makes 75MHh.

The average retail price of electricity for the whole U.S. in 2008 was just under $100/MWh, so they will make 75x100*365 = $2.7 million per year - $104 thousands in taxes = $2.6 million per year

They need 23 years to pay it of (not including interest, maintenance, etc...)

and BTW, these PV panels do not last 25 years.

What a waste of money.

RE: What a joke
By KIAman on 7/27/2010 12:55:06 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with your statement. Also, consider maintenance and employee costs, they won't ever break even.

RE: What a joke
By Jaybus on 7/27/2010 2:50:21 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly. We should compare apples to apples. 75 MWh per day is 27.4 GWh per year. By contrast, the Browns Ferry plant near Chattanooga has been producing more than 20,000 GWh per year for decades. 27.4 is 0.1% of 20,000. It would take a thousand such plants to replace Browns Ferry. Of course, you cannot really replace a nuclear plant with solar, because there is no viable way to store energy during the day for use at night. But if you could, then a thousand $60 million plants would cost $60 billion.

The DOE estimate for building a new nuclear reactor is $1.7 billion. Browns Ferry has three, so it would cost $5.1 billion. Let's round that up to $6 billion and call this photovaltic plant 10 times as expensive as nuclear to build. Browns Ferry costs $107 million per year to operate, mostly spent on personnel. How much would it cost to operate a thousand of these photovaltic plants?

This is just more evidence to support the theory that the only practical way to cleanly produce power and replace coal plants is to build more nuclear plants.

Panel Lifetime?
By tng on 7/27/2010 10:12:54 PM , Rating: 2
Anybody here know what the lifetime of a typical solar cell is? I had heard somewhere that about 20 years is really good.

So does that mean that in 10 to 20 years that they will have to invest $(?) into the solar farm as the panels no longer produce like they should?

I assume that in the future that solar cell prices will come down.... (Barring another AMAT debacle...)

One of those things that no one mentions when praising how godlike solar power is the future and that the panels wear out.

RE: Panel Lifetime?
By zibby on 7/28/2010 8:26:42 AM , Rating: 2
with shortage of pure silicon, umm, don't think so. Unless somehow we develop new technology to purify\clean\reclaim (whatever you wanna call it)silicon out of sand.

Only 20 Megawatts!?
By GruntboyX on 7/27/2010 12:35:19 PM , Rating: 2
20 Megawatts is a nice start, but this is on the order of an experiment and not anything that can deliver serious power. if it was 200 or 2000 megawatts that would have been headline worthy

Not to mention....
By Breathless on 7/27/2010 1:00:57 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention these things make the beautiful landscape look retarded. What an eyesore

Why solar panel
By Phoque on 7/27/2010 7:00:19 PM , Rating: 2
Have they considered stirling based technology?

It appears to me that stirling is a better alternative at the moment:

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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