UA professors study Alabama solar farmBy Christian Elliott | 07/23/2015 7:29pm
Sources: forbes.com, “Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Solar Energy Project in Lauderdale County, Alabama,” CW / Noah Huguley
In May of 2015, UA professors Samuel Addy and Ahmad Ijaz wrote the study about the new $150 million solar energy farm that will be created within Lauderdale County, Alabama. The study, titled “Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Solar Energy Project in Lauderdale County, Alabama,” was prepared for Bradley Arant Bould Cummings LLP, a firm out of Birmingham who is a major player in the construction of the plant. Both Addy and Ijaz work in the Culverhouse College of Commerce. They were the business and economic minds of the project, which proved to be a time-consuming one.
“Depending on the project, it takes about 15 to 30 days [in order to create the study] because you have to build the models and everything, plus you can devote all your day to one project,” Ijaz said.
Within the study, Addy and Ijaz laid out economic impacts that would be at hand with the construction and production of this project, including the output, earnings and employment. Summarizing the logistics of the project, the solar energy farm is planned on being in operation for 30 years, in which the project will produce $145.8 million in output. The project is also predicted to bring in nearly $24.5 million in earnings and will bring 437 new jobs to Lauderdale County.
The 80 MW solar energy plant, to be constructed on a 640-acre patch of land in Lauderdale County, is predicted to bring millions of dollars of economic benefits to the surrounding communities, including the local schools earning $3.8 million in taxes. The plan, which is a “Utility-Scale Solar Power” project, will be the first of its kind in the state of Alabama. Solar power is reliable source of energy that is more environmental friendly and contains more stable fuel prices.
“The U.S. is on pace to complete its one millionth solar installation in 2015, and solar capacity is expected to double by the end of 2016 – which will reduced carbon emissions by an amount equivalent to taking 10 million cars off the road or shutting down 12 coal-fired power plants,” said Angela Garrone, a Southeast energy research attorney for The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.With the constant production of this type of solar energy plants nationwide, the amount of carbon emissions that are present will be reduced drastically.
The project is to begin construction in December and will likely be finished by the end of 2016. NextEra Energy Resources, an energy company, is aiming to wave taxes within Lauderdale County for the next 10 years, excluding school taxes.
“It would be a 10-year abatement of non educational taxes. After 10 years, it becomes fully taxable,” said Chris Grissom, attorney for Bradley Arant Bould Cummings LLP.