New rules for renewable energy installations

By Gary Sliworsky
Ag rep, Emo

On Jan. 4, Ontario amended O. Reg. 282/98 under the Assessment Act to provide new rules with respect to the assessment of property taxes on renewable energy installations.
The objective was to clarify the property tax treatment of renewable energy installations for property owners, project developers, municipalities, and the Municipal Property Assessment Corp.
These amendments apply to facilities that generate electricity using solar energy, wind energy, or anaerobic digestion of organic matter. The amendments take effect retroactively as of Jan. 1, 2011.
The amendments differentiate between rooftop and ground solar installations, as well as between entities whose primary business is the generation, transmission, or distribution of electricity (corporate power producers) and persons who are not ordinarily in the business of electricity generation (ancillary producers).
For rooftop solar installations the amendments provide that the assessment and tax classification of property will not change due to the addition of a renewable energy installation on the rooftop of a building.
For ground-mounted installations, the property tax treatment will depend upon the size and location of the facility, as well as who is conducting the generation. 
Corporate power producers will be taxed at the industrial rate—regardless of the size of the facility.
With respect to ancillary producers:
•small-size ground installations, with a generation capacity up to 10 kW, will not experience an increase in assessment or a change in tax classification;
•medium-size ground installations, with a generation capacity over 10 kW and up to 500 kW, will be taxed based on the surrounding land use (e.g., residential, farm, multi-residential, etc.); and
•large-size ground installations, with a generation capacity over 500 kW, will be taxed based on the surrounding land use for the proportion of assessment up to 500 kW and at the industrial rate for the proportion over 500 kW.
Anaerobic digesters of any size that are located on a farm, and are operated by the farmer, will be taxed at the farm rate.
Dates to remember
•March 2—Rainy River District 4-H Awards Night, 7 p.m., Millennium Hall in Stratton.

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