Solar Farms (copy)

Plans to bring a solar farm to Red River County took another step forward Wednesday when the county commissioners approved tax abatements for the planned Delilah Solar Energy Center.

CLARKSVILLE — Plans to bring a solar farm to Red River County took another step forward Wednesday when the county commissioners approved tax abatements for the planned Delilah Solar Energy Center.

The tax abatement will be a payment in lieu of taxes in the amount of $187,500 per year per project for 10 years, said Red River County Judge L.D. Williamson. Payments will be made by Invenergy LLC, the company overseeing the project.

PILOTs are a common form of tax incentives for companies, and Lamar County has approved multiple PILOTs for incoming solar farms in recent months, including one for Invenergy for another solar farm.

The Red River County solar farm, to be located south of Highway 271 between Bogata and Rugby, will be broken into two phases, said Bristi Cure, an Invenergy representative. Each phase of Delilah is expected to produce between 300 and 500 megawatts of energy, Invenergy representative April Christensen previously told Rivercrest ISD trustees in April, and each will be worth roughly $200 million, the county judge said.

By state law, at the end of the 10-year period, the project is worth 20% of that, increasing the tax base by $80 million.

Williamson said he expects the solar farm to have a “tremendous” boost to the county’s economy as the solar farm will nearly double the county’s taxable value.

“Our current taxable value is $500 million, and this is $400 million,” he said.

Cure said a schedule for when construction is to start has not yet been determined.

“The construction schedule … will be determined based on us contracting to sell the electricity produced from the project,” she said. “We typically sign power purchase agreements or PPAs with utilities, corporate partners or municipalities where they agree to buy power from the project for a certain number of years at a set price.”

Though there is no clear time when construction is to begin, Cure said she anticipates construction to take between one and two years.

Williamson said he was told the solar farm will likely be completed in 2023.

Earlier this month, the commissioners approved a reinvestment zone covering 3,400 acres to be used for Delilah Solar Energy Center.

Invenergy has a companion project in the planning stages in Lamar County, known as Samson Solar Farm. Samson will be split into three phases near Cunningham and Prairiland ISD on 6,500 acres.

“We’re excited, and we think this will be a big step forward for our county,” Williamson said.

Tommy Culkin is a staff writer for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at tommy.culkin@theparisnews.com.

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