Potsdam town and school district vote to approve PILOT for Lawrence Avenue solar development
Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 9:21 am

BY CRAIG FREILICH
North Country This Week

POTSDAM -- The Town of Potsdam and the Potsdam Central School District have approved terms of payment in lieu of property taxes on a proposed solar power project along Lawrence Avenue.

The agreement, approved in separate meetings of the town board and the school board Tuesday night, provides for Potsdam Community Solar LLC to pay $16,500 a year for 15 years, with 65%, or $10,725 going to the schools and 15%, $2,475, going to the town.

Because elements of the project qualify for property tax exemptions, the PILOT allows the town and the schools to be compensated by the developers.

The company had filed for a real property tax exemption based on the project’s proposed output of 3.5 megawatts AC.

The owners will make annual tax payments in lieu of property taxes for 15 years. If the output capacity of the project is more or less than the 3.5 megawatts planned by the developers, the PILOT payment will be increased or decreased pro rata.

The company's principles are Tracy Dow of Dow Electric in Malone and Everything Electric in Potsdam, Potsdam businessman and owner of the land Jim Snell, and Elie Schecter of Hemlock Hills Solar Development in the Hudson Valley, who worked for a large solar developer for years before setting up his own development company.

The project will take about 18 acres of the 27 acres of Snell's land, which has frontage on Lawrence Avenue between Kingston Middle School and Lawrence Avenue Apartments on Debra Drive.

The project is a community solar project for which customers will be able to sign up to receive power from them for an estimated 10% reduction in their National Grid bills.