SARATOGA – Saratoga’s second solar project is coming closer to reality.
Last month, Missouri-based renewable energy company Savion submitted key documents needed for state regulators to review and sign off on the large-scale solar project on land that was previously designated as the site of a large-scale dairy.
Here’s what you need to know about the project.
Wood County Solar. Saratoga Solar. What’s the difference?
Both projects are, or were, being developed by Savion. Both projects are set on Saratoga land that was originally slated for a large-scale dairy farm.
Each of the projects is expected to produce about 150 megawatts of energy, enough to power about 40,000 homes.
The key difference? Savion sold the Wood County Solar project to Alliant Energy but so far Alliant has no plans to buy the second project, Chris Caporale, communications partner for the power utility, said.
The Saratoga Solar project would occupy about 1,000 acres and the Wood County Solar project will occupy 1,200 acres.
Alliant’s Wood County Solar is a $194 million investment, which included the cost to acquire the project from Savion. Caporale did not disclose the full amount Alliant spent to buy the project from Savion.
Savion expects its second solar project to cost about $230 million.
Savion could retain ownership of Saratoga Solar
Johnna Guinty, Savion’s vice president of marketing and public relations, said it’s too early to tell whether Savion will retain ownership of the second project.
Savion does own and operate solar power facilities across the country, however.
Savion is leasing the underlying land for the project, Guinty said.
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Wood County Solar will come online this summer
Alliant estimates to wrap up construction in about two months and will plan to bring the solar farm online in August or September, Caporale said.
Savion expects a decision from the state’s Public Service Commission in the next year, Guinty said. Project documents submitted by Savion indicate construction could start at the beginning of 2023 and the solar farm would come online at the end of 2024 — generating about 300 construction jobs.
Alliant’s project is expected to last between 25 and 30 years. Guinty said Savion’s project could last about 35 years.
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How much revenue for local governments will generate Savion’s second project?
Savion’s first solar project in Saratoga is projected to generate a combined $600,000 annually for the county and Saratoga.
Solar projects in Wisconsin do not pay taxes but do pay fees to the state. The state then gives part of those fees back to local governments through its shared revenue formula and program. Under the Wood County Solar project, the town would receive about $250,000 and the county would receive about $350,000.
Just like its first project, Savion’s second project is expected to generate another combined $600,000 for both local governments, split $250,000 to the town and $350,000 to the county.
Across both projects, the county can expect an extra $700,000 and the town $500,000 generated annually through the next three decades.
Contact reporter Alan Hovorka at 715-345-2252 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ajhovorka†