Solar farm losing money due to Michigan's "schizophrenic" property tax

Ford's solar array at Michigan Assembly Plant

With electrical output hitting 225,592 kilowatt hours in its first full year of operation, a solar farm in Kalamazoo Coun­ty, MI, which came online in early 2010, has exceeded expectations, according the MLive. That's the good news.

Here's the bad news: Sam Field, a Kalamazoo attor­ney and part-owner of Kalamazoo Solar, says that the $27,689 tax bill for the Charleston Township, MI prop­erty means that the solar farm has lost money, despite being paid 45 cents per kilowatt hour by Consumers Energy, a public utility that provides natural gas and electricity to more than six million of Michigan's ten million residents.

A rightfully enraged Field had this to say of the tax:
That Michigan property tax burden works out to a cost of 12.3 cents per kilowatt hour. That amount is more than the retail value of the electricity. The property tax burden on our solar project is 60 times as much as the property tax burden on the nuclear power plant when calculated on a per kilowatt hour basis.
Field says that Michigan's setup is "schizophrenic" in the sense that it over taxes some forms of renewable energy, while at the same time encouraging the development of renewable energy facilities. Despite the setback, Field claims that:
On a level playing field... solar is going to prevail and carry the day.
Kalamazoo Solar has filed an appeal with the Michigan Tax Tribunal over this issue, but in the meantime, it's required by law to continue paying the exorbitant taxes. Aside from this issue, Field says that the farm's virtually trouble-free first year of operation has him convinced that solar is "amazingly feasible." Hat tip to Roy!

[Source: MLive]

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