Solar farm in parish’s future?

Published 12:47 am Monday, March 6, 2017


VIDALIA — Concordia Parish could soon be home to a 250-acre solar farm.

Concordia Parish Economic Development Executive Director Heather Malone said the farm would be located on a property currently being used for agriculture near the Vidalia Industrial Park. Under a confidentiality agreement, Malone said she could only release limited information on “Project Shine.”

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The Concordia Parish Police Jury last week approved a 100-percent tax abatement on the qualifying equipment located on the site for five years and an option to renew for three additional years with an 80-percent abatement.

Malone said the project aims to have at least a 30-year life, if not longer, and the land would still be taxable.

“The parish will actually see an increase in revenue on the land because the land is currently assessed as agriculture,” Malone said. “The assessment will change based on the new use of the property.”

Malone said the project would include a $40 million to $60 million capital investment, approximately 450 construction jobs over 10 to 16 months and two to four permanent jobs for operations and maintenance.

“This offers a nice boost to our community during the construction period and after,” Malone said.

Another benefit to the community would be the project’s efforts to work with youth. The company will teach solar and energy efficiency classes for local students and devote a section of panels of the solar farm for educational tours, visits and instruction, Malone said.

The company also has a track record of reinvesting into developing community initiatives and programs, Malone said.

“The company is proven to be a good community partner through education,” Malone said. “We will definitely see an active presence from this company.”

The company would also be creating more efficient energy, which the market buys first before less efficient energy such as coal, Malone said. While Malone said she did not have hard numbers, she said having more efficient energy on the grid could lead to lower costs.

Malone said construction could start as early as fall 2017.