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Leases signed for two solar farm projects

By TRAVIS WEIK - tweik@thecouriertimes.com

Although no building plans have been filed, two different companies have signed leases with local property owners for solar farms near New Castle.

A lease between Duke Energy Indiana and the Kathy L. Kalia Revocable Trust was filed with the Henry County Recorder’s office Sept. 12, 2019.

The lease was signed and notarized June 10, 2019.

The 46-year lease is for a “Solar Generating Facility” on approximately 160 acres of land east of County Road 250E and south of Ind. 38. The area begins across the street east of Foster’s Landing and the east-most border of New Castle city limits.

The Recorder’s office also had on file a lease from 2018 for “a solar-powered electrical power generation and transmission project” west of New Castle.

The lease is between Boulevard Associates, LLC and trustees of the Neil A. Armstrong and Teresa A. Armstrong Joint Revocable Trust and the Craig L. Armstrong and Marti. L. Armstrong Joint Revocable Trust.

As of 2017, Boulevard Associates, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, was affiliated with NextEra Energy Resources, LLC.

Under the lease, Boulevard Associates have “the right and privilege to use, maintain and capture the free and unobstructed sunlight over and across the owner’s property.”

The lease is for at least 220 acres of land just outside the southwest boundary of New Castle city limits.

The Solar Lease and Easement Agreement is for 30 years, with the option for Boulevard Associates to extend the agreement for two consecutive five-year terms.

Neither Duke Energy or Boulevard Associates have contacted the Henry County Planning Commission nor the New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corp. in regards to building a solar farm in Henry County.

Talks of a solar farm ordinance

A coalition of citizens asked the Henry County Commissioners last week to enact a 12-month moratorium “on any solar energy system being proposed or that might be proposed in the future in the county.”

The group said they have been working on an solar ordinance that will regulate “sound, infrasound, glare, reflection, location, height, size, visual screen landscape, complaint avenue, type, liability, solar panel types, drainage, TV, radio and internet reception, microwave reception, fencing and many more issues.”

The commissioners did not put a moratorium in place that night. They have scheduled a work session at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, to meet with the solar committee.