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Tax abatement approved for solar farm

A new solar farm project is in the works for Marengo County with plans to begin construction in 2021.

On Tuesday, June 9 the Marengo County Commission approved a 10-year tax abatement plan for Sofos Harbert to build a new solar farm southwest of Linden on Westervelt Company property. The abatement will cover the county’s portion of sales and use tax, but Sofos Harbert will be responsible for the tax earmarked for education.

Sofos Harbert is a joint company by the Spanish company Sofos in Lleida, Spain, and B.L. Harbert Construction in Birmingham. Project Development Manager, Chris Barry, said the company will invest $110 million in the solar farm and Marengo County will be rebated $9 million over an estimated 35-year period. The solar farm is projected to use 800 acres of land and will be interconnected to Alabama Power’s transmission system. The electricity will flow wherever it is needed, but it will power industries and roughly 10-15,000 homes.

With this project comes the opportunity for temporary jobs in the Marengo County area. There will be around 500 jobs created during the construction period, but those will be temporary construction jobs. Once construction is complete, there will be two to three permanent jobs to maintain the facility.

“New jobs are not a big benefit of this project, but we don’t require much for the county. We won’t require anything in the way of police, or fire, or road maintenance, and we won’t require anything from the county schools,” Barry said. “So all the tax dollars we generate for the county will come in unburdened, and the county can use that money however they see fit.”

Barry said he hopes to have the plans for the project finalized soon so that construction can begin by next year. The solar farm is projected to be operational some time in 2022.