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.
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.
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.