Monday, March 4, 2013

Beautiful Earth Solar Project US Treasury Cancellation and City of Lancaster Planning Extension

Beautiful Earth Group LLC is planning a solar project on 180 acres of land at Avenue H to Avenue H-8, and between 80th Street West, and 90th Street West. The construction of their 38 megawatt photovoltaic solar generating facility is comprised of two19 MW solar fields in the Rural Residential zoned land (RR-2.5). Lancaster planning approved a (CUP) Conditional use permit back in November of 2010 to construct their proposed solar facility. The planning commission also recommended approval of General Plan Amendment and zone change. The City Council approved both the GPA and the Zone Change and CUP which became effective on February of 2011. Beautiful Earth Group later constructed a fence around the site area. The US Treasury 1603 Program: Payments for Specified Energy Property in Lieu of Tax Credits. According to the US Treasury site, the purpose of the 1603 payment is to reimburse eligible applicants for a portion of the cost of installing specified energy property used in a trade or business or for the production of income. A 1603 payment is made after the energy property is placed in service; a 1603 payment is not made prior to or during construction of the energy property. The deadline for new projects has passed and no new projects will be accepted according to the program. If a project has submitted an application prior to October 1, 2012 for energy property not yet placed in service (known as a Begun Construction application) they must update to a Converted Application within 90 days after the energy property is placed in service. The project applicant will not need to wait for a response from Treasury on their Begun Construction application. Applications updated after 90 days of an energy property being placed in service will not be accepted. Looks like Beautiful Earth Group may fall under this converted version as to our knowledge they have not begun construction. Beautiful Earth Group has applied for and they were granted an extension of one year with the city of Lancaster, Ca. in order to complete the construction of the project. It shows that well funded and Federal and locally approved alternative energy projects run into construction and timeframe obstacles.

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