Logan County lowers permit fees
for solar farms
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[April 25, 2020]
At the Logan County Board meeting Tuesday, April 21, the board voted
on permit fees for Solar Farms.
The Planning and Zoning Committee discussed the permit fees at their
March 4 meeting. At that meeting, the committee heard from Erin
Baker of Apex Clean Energy, who is working on developing the
Mulligan Solar Farm Project.
The Mulligan Solar Farm Project is in the final stages of site
control and working on a permit application. Baker has asked about
lowering solar farm permit fees because permit fees are
significantly higher than those for a wind project. For a
70-Megawatt project, Baker said these fees would be almost $1
million more than wind farm permit fees.
Since solar projects are becoming more cost competitive, Baker asked
the committee to look over rates for these fees and consider
Since that meeting, Logan County Zoning Officer Will D’Andrea has
been researching the fees in other counties.
Tuesday, Planning and Zoning Committee Chairman David Hepler brought
forward the following motion.
To set Solar Farm permit fees at:
$1,000 for 0-1 MW (Megawatts)
$3,000.00 per MW for 1-70 MW
$2,000.00 per MW for 70-100 MW
$1,000.00 per MW for 100 plus MW
On Thursday, board member Dave Blankenship asked for comparisons to
Hepler was able to get a comparison from D’Andrea showing that
permit fees for a 150-Megawatt Solar Farm were $980,000.
To help set the fees being considered, Hepler said he referred to
formulas used by Champaign County and McLean County.
While agreeing that the current rate is too high, board member Chuck
Ruben said those numbers seem too low in comparison to wind farm
Generally, solar farm permit fees are much higher than those for
Ruben said wind farms have other fees like road use agreements, so
there is more to it than just permit fees.
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With wind farms and solar farms, board member Annette Welch said the footprint
is much different. She said these rates are very competitive and she does not
want to charge astronomical rates on a private level.
For those asking for lower permit fees for solar farms, at the recent planning
and zoning committee meeting Ruben said they wanted the county to be fair.
Baker, the Apex representative, wanted something comparable to fees for wind
farms and Ruben sees no reason to cut below that.
In terms of actual electrical output of the [upcoming] solar project compared
with a wind project, Baker told Hepler the permit fee for the wind farm would
have been $192,000. Hepler said this formula would make the permit fee $208,000,
which the developers find acceptable.
In setting fees, Hepler said this formula keeps us competitive though it is a
little above what it would have been.
Ruben asked whether the board needed to approve these fees by a certain date.
If not approved soon, Hepler said it could be an impediment to the project
The industry is trying to contemporize formulas, Hepler said, and these amounts
give D’Andrea time to do that and move [the Mulligan Solar Farm] project
The project set to begin next year could generate at least $700,000 a year in
revenue for the county.
The board approved the fees with an 8-3-1 vote.
Janet Estill, Bob Farmer, Cameron Halpin, David Hepler, Steve Jenness, Bob
Sanders, Annette Welch and Jim Wessbecher voted yes.
Dave Blankenship, Chuck Ruben and Emily Davenport voted no.
Scott Schaffenacker abstained.