Tag Archives: silicon

McNally: GOP Push for Repeal of Solar Tax Break May Be Renewed

A top state legislator in the solar tax debate tells the Nashville Business Journal that he’s awaiting an attorney general’s opinion on the matter, but acknowledged that Silicon Ranch’s application for state tax breaks “very well could” whet Republicans’ appetite for repeal.
On Thursday, the Nashville Business Journal reported that the company — run by top aides to former Gov. Phil Bredesen who helped pass the tax break — had applied for it in relation to eight projects.
State Sen. Randy McNally, the Oak Ridge Republican who last spring carried a bill to change the tax arrangement, said today the bill could come back to an invigorated debate in the 2013 legislative session. He made clear that his primary interest is whether Attorney General Bob Cooper will reaffirm a 1986 opinion that the state’s use of “pollution control” for taxation issues was unconstitutional.
“I think we’ll continue to look at that, and if it does come back that it’s constitutionally suspect or unconstitutional, consider bringing the legislation again to try and correct the problems,” he said.
In addition to the constitutional issues — raised by the office of Comptroller Justin Wilson — Republicans last year were eager to repeal the tax break. Some, including McNally, questioned whether solar investments deserved the tax break, and there was also suspicion that Matt Kisber, Bredesen’s economic development commissioner, and Reagan Farr, his revenue commissioner, had pushed the original tax break to later take advantage of it. They deny doing so, saying they were seeking to encourage an industry they believed key for the state
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Bredesen-linked Silicon Ranch Seeks Tax Break

Silicon Ranch — the company with ties to former Gov. Phil Bredesen’s administration — has applied for a solar tax break that is sure to fan the flames of debate over the economic development incentive’s future, reports the Nashville Business Journal.

The company’s founders include Bredesen and major economic development players from his administration, Matt Kisber and Reagan Farr. They spearheaded the passage of the tax break in 2010 aimed at encouraging the fledgling solar industry.
In the 2012 Tennessee General Assembly, some Republicans had planned to alter the tax arrangement in part because they were suspicious after those who put it in place started a solar company. Since then, Silicon Ranch has made eight applications for green energy certification, a stamp necessary to receive the tax break, according to Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation records.
…Kisber and Farr said the company had not planned previously to apply for the tax credit — or any other incentive they had advocated — unless a new legislature and administration affirmed the legitimacy of a Bredesen-era policy. Farr, who served as Bredesen’s revenue commissioner, said the Republicans’ ultimate decision not to alter the policy “reaffirmed” it and led the company to consider applying.

Bredesen-backed Company Launches Solar Venture

Silicon Ranch, the solar venture tied to former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and his economic development team, has begun work on what it says will be the state’s largest privately owned solar installation, according to the Nashville Business Journal.
The $5 million, 1.4 megawatt solar power plant in Pulaski will ultimately be part of a larger Pulaski Energy Park, according to a statement from the company. That park, set for construction on 25 acres owned by Silicon Ranch, will include classrooms, administrative and service space, according to the company.
Executives cast the move as a step forward in the green economy.
“Our intent is to provide low-cost solar energy with a focus on creating green jobs and increasing capital investments in clean energy here in our state,” Matt Kisber, president and CEO, said in a statement.
The facility is the first deal the company has made public since its formation. In August, the Nashville Business Journal revealed the company’s business model, following quiet maneuvering by Kisber and his team that first became publicly known as Bredesen, a Democrat, left office.