Savion solar project to be located on former Kentucky coal mine

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As Gov. Andy Beshear announced this week, Kentucky is focusing on an energy future that includes renewable energy. The Martin County Solar Project, which is currently under development by Savion, plans to be located on a former coal mine in Martin County, a project that will invest up to $231 million.  

“We are building a future that works for all Kentuckians, and that future includes an increased reliance on renewable energy,” Gov. Beshear said. “To maintain the incredible economic momentum we have established this year, we must continue to compete for all forms of energy investment. I want to thank Savion for choosing
Kentucky.”

Solar power will be generated on approximately 1,200 acres of the old Martiki mine site in Martin County, interconnected with Kentucky Power’s 138-kV Inez Substation. Once completed, the project will create capacity of up to 200 MW and will produce enough energy to power the equivalent of more than 33,000 Kentucky homes.  

Construction is expected to begin in 2022 and be commercially operational by early 2024. During the 12- to 18-month construction period, company leaders report the project will create between 250 and 300 construction jobs, in addition to 11 full-time Kentucky jobs, including eight in Martin County.

The completed project will be one of the largest solar energy generation facilities operating in Kentucky. “It’s exciting to reach this milestone in the project’s development, which moves us closer to the start of construction and commercial operation,” said Erich Miarka, director of development for Savion. “This opportunity would not be possible without the support of Martin County, Martin County School District, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and Edelen Renewables. Thank you for your continued efforts to advance this unprecedented project.”

Established in 2019 and headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, Savion is a company focused on utility-scale solar and energy storage projects in 27 states. Savion employs more than 120 people, providing comprehensive services at each
phase of renewable energy project development, from conception to construction.

The company currently oversees the development of nearly 90 solar projects and more than 40 energy storage projects in the U.S. totaling over 15 gW.

Savion’s solar project includes a local partnership with Edelen Renewables, which has played a key role in the initial phase of development.

“This country owes a tremendous debt to the people and communities that powered the industrial development of America for a century: our miners and coal communities,” said Adam Edelen, founder and CEO of Edelen Renewables. “The Martin County coal-to-solar project is an effort to bring the opportunities of a newer, greener economy to the coalfields. Doing so has required the strong support of the Beshear administration and local leadership. We are grateful to all for their support.”

Martin County Judge/Executive Victor Slone said the project will benefit the community in the years ahead. “On behalf of the Martin County Fiscal Court, I am excited to see the Martin County Solar Project come to fruition,”

Judge/Executive Slone said. “This investment will impact our community for years to come. I look forward to the new jobs that will be created in Martin County throughout the course of this project, and I am confident other companies will take notice of the opportunity to invest in Martin County as a result.”

In addition to helping boost the recent economic momentum in the Commonwealth, the Martin County Solar Project contributes to the state’s recovery following the pandemic. The commonwealth has broken every record for yearly investment in economic development this year. Since January, the private sector has announced new and expanded locations worth $11 billion, creating 17,000 full-time jobs. Kentucky’s average incentive hourly wage is $24.15 before benefits through September, an increase of 10% over the previous year.  

In September, Gov. Beshear, Ford Motor Co. Executive Chair Bill Ford, CEO Jim Farley and Dong-Seob Jee, president of SK Innovation’s battery business, announced the single largest economic development project in the history of the
commonwealth, celebrating a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs and places Kentucky at the forefront of the automotive industry’s future.

In July, thanks to strong fiscal management by the Beshear administration, the state budget office reported the commonwealth ended the 2021 fiscal year with a general fund surplus of over $1.1 billion – the highest ever in the commonwealth –and a 10.9% increase in general fund receipts to $12.8 billion.

In May, Moody’s Analytics published a positive economic outlook for Kentucky, noting mass vaccination as the driving force behind a sustained recovery in consumer services. The state’s recovery, Moody’s said, benefited from earlier
reopening efforts and increased demand for manufactured goods over services.

The report also found Kentucky’s manufacturing industry outperformed the nation’s since the national downturn last year. Fitch Ratings in May improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery. The state’s April sales tax receipts set an all-time monthly record at $486.5 million, as did vehicle usage tax receipts at over $64 million.

In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 positioned Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million. Site Selection also recently placed Kentucky in a tie for fifth in its 2021 Prosperity Cup rankings, positioning the state among the national leaders for business climate.

To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) today approved Martin County Solar Project for up to $600,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky
Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.

In addition, Martin County Solar can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers. Those include no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job-training incentives.

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