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Commercial solar farm won’t fill county coffers
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To the editor:

The county won’t have substantial gains from commercial solar farms.

• 10 year tax free

• Depreciates 80% in 7 years

• PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) has no guarantee

• Loss of tax revenue

In the state of Kansas the way the county would make money from a solar project is from property tax of their equipment. In Kansas any renewable energy company is exempt from paying property tax for the first 10 years.

• Kansas statute exempts renewable energy equipment from property taxes if an application for an exemption is filed for the property on or before Dec. 31, 2016. For applications for exemptions filed after Dec. 31, 2016, a property tax exemption is limited to the 10 taxable years immediately following the taxable year in which construction or installation of such property is completed.

In Kansas Renewable Energy personal property tax will depreciate 80% in 7 years and would remain at a value of 20% of the build cost.

• Personal property is valued as subclass five (5) using a formula of retail cost when new (RCWN) depreciated over a seven-year life to a salvage value of 20% RCWN. Thus, personal property that is considered renewable energy equipment coming off of a ten-year exemption would be valued at 20% RCWN.

Since renewable energy companies don’t have to pay taxes the first 10 years they offer a PILOT program. That is a Payment in Lieu of Taxes, which is a payment in good faith to the county. When a solar company applies for a Condition Use Permit (CUP) they could offer a PILOT program. The county can not deny a CUP because they cannot agree on a PILOT program.

• A payment in lieu of taxes (usually abbreviated as PILOT, or sometimes as PILT) is a payment made to compensate a government for some or all of the property tax revenue lost due to tax exempt ownership or use of real property.

• CUP is a conditional use permit

• The PILOT has no government oversight and is handled at a county level.

Dan Witt