Harmony Township officials approved the 70-megawatt Harmony Plains Solar energy generation farm project, according to March 2 announcement by developer Dakota Power Partners, which will invest $100 million in the project.
“Harmony Township Mayor Brian Tipton, Deputy Mayor Diane Yamrock and Committeeman Richard Cornely were quick to see the value of this project,” said Timothy Daniels, Dakota principal and co-founder in a prepared statement. “The committee members recognize that Harmony Plains Solar will have an enormous aggregate economic benefit. In fact, over its 30-year life, the solar farm will generate more than $31 million in direct economic impact for the local community. That includes construction spending, wages for construction and ongoing maintenance, local taxes, and lease payments.
“For all this economic impact, Harmony Plains Solar will have little-to-no burden on Township and County services, unlike so many types of development, such as residential developments and warehouses,” Daniels said. “Indeed, the solar farm requires no new public roads and no new sewer. There will be no permanent increase in traffic or noise from the solar farm. We thank Harmony Township for its leadership, foresight, and cooperation.”
Harmony Plains Solar is estimated to generate a total of approximately $4.4 million in property taxes over the 30-year life of the project. Dakota will pay $22,539 in annual real estate taxes to Harmony Township, $87,346 to the Harmony Township School District, and $53,638 to Warren County, for a total of $163,523 in local taxes per year. Additionally, Dakota will pay Harmony Township $350,000 per year to lease township-owned land for the project, according to the release.
The Millville-based company has proposed a dozen similar projects throughout New Jersey, in all proposing a $1 billion utility-scale solar investment in the state. The company said it intends to generate enough energy to power 175,000 households.
“Years ago, Harmony Township made a very wise decision to buy land that was destined to be a massive residential project that would have changed Harmony forever. Now, with the Harmony Plains Solar project, they are able to utilize that land to the benefit of their taxpayers, and essentially keep the land held in trust for the future,” said Warren County Commissioner Lori Ciesla, who is the Board of County Commissioners liaison to Harmony Township in a prepared statement. “With all the warehousing projects being proposed in Warren County, it is nice to see a project like this that will provide well-paying constructions jobs, income to the town and county, and a source of green energy, all with little detriment to the land.”
Dakota Power Partners said it will plant native, pollinator-friendly grasses as ground cover to protect against erosion and to increase biodiversity at the solar farm sites. After 30 years, the equipment will be removed, and the property will be restored to its pre-construction condition.