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Solar array contract approved

JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Monday authorized a contract between the county, town of Broadalbin and Onyx Solar to erect a 2-megawatt solar array farm in the town.

Onyx Solar is a solar energy company with a global presence, which was founded in 2009 in Spain

The resolution approved by the board at the County Office Building enacts a Payment In Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT agreement for the solar array farm.

County officials said Onyx Solar plans to purchase property near Route 29 in the town of Broadalbin. The company proposed a PILOT agreement with the county and town. The Board of Supervisors’ Finance Committee recommended a PILOT agreement based on a pro-rated sharing of the annual tax rate. The payment is based on $8,000 per megawatt.

The resolution indicated the county’s payment for 2017 will be $14,574. The town of Broadalbin’s payment is $1,425.

Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Gregory Young noted the county’s consultant came up with seven “targeted industries” for the Tryon Technology Park He noted one was “renewable energy.” The other six identified by DCG Corplan Consulting of West Orange, N.J. were biomedical research and development, food and beverage, business services, software and media, health care products and services, and electronics.

But Young said he feels that when businesses want to locate to Fulton County, the county hits them with “what is essentially a tax.”

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said discounted electricity is being sold back to big corporations, such as General Electric.

“The benefits of the sale of discounted electricity is not necessarily here,” Stead said.

Stead said Fulton County is in a high power cost sector, but also is a “target for these types of projects.”

He said there are currently about 10 or 11 solar array projects currently proposed in Fulton County.

“I expect even more to come,” Stead said.

Young said that without the PILOT agreements, those types of solar array projects would be exempt for a couple decades and taxpayers would pick up all the cost.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.c

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