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Tax incentives approved as solar farm companies eye Bell County

Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 8:28 AM CST
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - More renewable energy projects are underway in parts of Central Texas. Two companies plan to put solar farms in rural parts of Bell County.

Both companies got approval from Bell County Commissioners Monday morning for tax abatements. The idea behind those tax incentives is to draw in new companies or allow others to expand in the county.

The new farms are coming up east-and-southeast of Temple. The companies in charge said they should generate more than 500 megawatts of energy and provide around 300 jobs each.

“All of these are in excess of $200 million, some $300 million and up,” said County Judge David Blackburn, speaking about recent tax abatement applications.

Interest in putting up solar farms is somewhat new to the county.

The first abatement application for a solar farm came about two years ago.

“We’ve since had three follow,” said Blackburn.

One of those companies is ENGIE North America. It has started to invest in solar projects in Texas, with three already operational.

Another, in Hill County, is expected by the end of this year.

“Some of our key customers being Boeing, Starbucks, the Postal Service; companies like these that come to us for their energy needs,” said Randall Rayford, while speaking to county commissioners on Monday.

Other similar projects are also popping up in places like Crawford, though with a bit of push-back from residents.

In Bell County, the feel is about half-and-half.

“We have heard from property owners who support the development,” said Blackburn. “And we have heard from property owners who oppose the development.”

The judge added, in new reports from the Energy Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s reliance on renewables is up.

“It would not surprise me if there are more coming,” said Blackburn.

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