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PATTONVILLE — Prairiland trustees gave final approval Thursday night to a tax deal with Chicago-based Invenergy, paving way for the construction of Samson Solar Energy Center, heralded by the company as the largest solar energy generation facility in the United States.

Made up of five solar energy farms located primarily in Lamar and Red River counties, Samson Solar Energy Center will produce 1,310 megawatts of energy with a $1.6 billion capital investment in Prairiland and Rivercrest school districts, according to Invenergy officials. During a 36-month construction period, the five-phase project is expected to support up to 600 jobs.

Prairiland trustees on Thursday approved an appraised value limitation for Delilah Solar Energy 1, the fifth farm in the project to gain approval during the past year and a half. Delilah I is located in both Prariland and Rivercrest ISDs while Delilah II is located solely in Rivercrest ISD. Samson Solar Energy I, II and III are located solely in Prairiland ISD.

Appraised value limitation agreements limit the amount of appraised value on a school district’s maintenance and operations side of the tax rate to $20 million for 10 years while the full value of a project is taxed on the debt, or interest and sinking, side of the tax rate. In return, each farm pays roughly $100,000 to the district for 15 years in addition to a payment to cover any revenue lost the district because of the agreement.

According to Invenergy, the five solar farms will supply energy to three Texas municipalities, including the cities of Bryan, Denton and Garland, and five major consumer brands, including AT&T, Honda, McDonald’s, Google and The Home Depot.

“At AT&T, we believe renewable energy is good for the planet, for our business and for the communities we serve,” AT&T Technology & Operations President Scott Mair said in an Invenergy press release. “We’re excited to participate in Invenergy’s Samson project through the largest corporate solar energy deal in the U.S.”

Samson Solar will be constructed in five phases over the next three years, with each phase beginning operation upon completion. The full project is slated to be operational in 2023. When complete, it will produce enough energy to power nearly 300,000 homes, according to the Invenergy press release.

“Invenergy continues to lead the energy transition, and this record-setting project demonstrates our expertise at a new scale,” said Ted Romains, senior vice president of origination. “The Samson Solar Energy Center is the latest example of what can be achieved when companies and utilities seek an innovative partner to meet their sustainability goals and invest in a clean energy future.”

Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at mary.madewell@theparisnews.com.

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