IMPA expects to close the purchase of 20 acres adjacent to the hospital in coming weeks. The total project is expect to cost about $5.9 million. Construction is expected to take about eight months and employ about 25 construction workers. Ground could break ground as soon as this spring and be operational by early 2020.
IMPA delivers energy to 61 municipalities, including customers in Tell City and Troy. The company’s 20 solar parks in the state generate about 48 mega-watts of power. A smaller IMPA solar project opened in 2014 and generates 1 megawatt.
Tell City Electric Department Dennis Dixon outlined plans to the city works board Tuesday. He said the nearly 12,00 panels would track the sun during the day, maximizing power output.
“It’s about three times the size of the current one we already have in Tell City,” explained Emily Williams, a solar division project manager for Indiana Municipal Power Agency. The interconnect would be with Tell City’s electrical system, so all of the power produced at this facility would stay within Tell City.”
Much planning has already gone into the development by IMPA to help keep costs low.
“We are a nonprofit agency, so we try to build these facilities as economically as possible because it directly impacts our members,” Williams said. “Due to the solar facilities and the other good decisions that our (IMPA) board of commissioners have made throughout our history, we’ve actually been able to reduce our wholesale rates over the last three years, a little over 7 percent.”
She added that long-range goals also aim to keep rates low for the future.
Though a nonprofit institution, Williams said since IMPA is a utility, it does not receive the same tax exemptions. She explained that the company is obligated to make payments in lieu of taxes, and in this case, it would come out to be about $35,000 annually to the county. As such, IMPA is seeking personal- and real-property tax abatements on the land equipment that would be installed at that amount. That request was presented to the county council last Thursday.
A graduated prorating of the abatement – which would see IMPA pay 10 percent the first year – would apply to the $35,000 plus whatever tax is generated from the grounds, which would reportedly benefit about $156,000 over the 10-year tax-deferral period.
Consideration of the abatement is being given by the county council which asked Williams for an independent analysis of the deferrals. She said that wasn’t a decision on her part, and the request would have to be submitted to her company. The council plans to discuss the matter further next month.
Williams touted that while this IMPA development would ultimately be a “silent neighbor,” such projects often work well to generate other economic development. “We see a lot of companies that come in who want local renewable facilities,” she said. “So this helps to grow and retain businesses.”