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Tax Uncertainty In Indiana Causes Headaches For Solar Companies

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Property tax uncertainty could drive away some companies looking to build solar farms in Indiana. That’s according to a presentation for the 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force on Thursday.

Katya Samoteskul is the manager for renewable development for Invenergy. The company has announced plans to build a 200-megawatt solar farm in Lake County.

Samoteskul said, in Indiana, real property tax assessments for solar farms are up to local assessors and can vary widely from county to county — sometimes at such a high rate that the project is no longer viable.

She said even if a solar company negotiates what it feels is a fair rate with a local assessor — it’s not set in stone. 

“We still don't have a guarantee that a newly elected assessor could come in and could change it," she said.

READ MORE: Purdue Study Looks At County Attitudes Toward Wind Farms

Samoteskul suggests the state develop a structure to help calculate real property tax assessments so that solar companies can budget for those costs.

Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) co-chairs the task force. He said it's unfair that solar farms owned by utilities are largely assessed by the state, but privately-owned solar farms are assessed locally. Soliday says he plans to craft legislation to address the issue.

Contact Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.