Re: Can solar farms subsidize affordable cohousing?
From: April Roggio (
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2019 04:23:24 -0800 (PST)
Thanks very much. It is useful to know that those in a neighboring state
have been thinking along these lines.

I have heard, depending on who is communicating the information, two
different (and somewhat opposing) perspectives. I have been told that solar
companies are working on very thin margins - in New York State we provide a
loophole of sorts for commercial solar companies. They will not get
assessed on the higher tax rate of the property, post installation. For 15
years, they can remain the original tax rate, which is often vacant land or
farm land. Because of our home rule principal, we also allow communities to
opt out of this law, which effectively just means commercial solar avoids
"opt out" communities, because "they are making very little money".

On the other hand, there is increasing evidence that commercial solar is
actively recruiting owners of large tracts of open land, and are willing to
offer sizable chunks of money, either in the form of purchase of land
outright, or through a long term lease. It seems to me that perhaps those
thin margins aren't all that thin, and while our goals are quite aligned
with sustainability principals, it is also true in my region that there is
a shrinking pool of folks who are financially able to invest in cohousing.
If solar could make that more do-able for them, then I think we ought to be
pursuing it.

Dick, will you be posting when you find out if your engineer has been able
to put all those pieces together? I am eager to know if it works out.
Many thanks,

April Roggio, PhD
Sayre Policy Research LLC <>
(518) 819-6755 <15188196755> | LinkedIn

On Mon, Feb 4, 2019 at 8:36 AM Dick Margulis <dick [at]> wrote:

> >
> > So, my question for you is: are you aware of any precedent for this? I
> did
> > search the archives and didn't find much, but I might be using the wrong
> > search terms. And do you have any advice with regard to how to proceed?
> >
> I don't know that this is exactly a precedent, but it's related.
> Connecticut is not New York, so our incentives are different, but we
> have connected with an engineer who is designing a microgrid for Rocky
> Corner. If he is successful in getting a solar company to agree to do
> the project and in getting the Connecticut Green Bank to provide
> financing (neither a certainty), we'll derive some benefits: 1. We'll
> have the moral benefit of being a net zero (or nearly so) community. 2.
> We'll have battery backup power when the rest of the town is blacked out
> after a snowstorm (happens at least two or three times a year, sometimes
> for days at a time). 3. We'll get a small discount on our electricity.
> 4. After 25 years, we'll own the system and get more substantial savings.
> Fingers crossed that it works out. Otherwise, it will be up to
> individual owners to buy or lease solar systems for their roofs, and not
> everyone will be in a financial position to do that.
> Dick Margulis

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