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  Solar panels could be cash crop for farmers
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Last EditedRP  Aug 27, 2019 05:27pm
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AuthorJay Greene
News DateSunday, August 25, 2019 05:05:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionIn June, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order that opened 3.4 million acres of farmland for solar energy development by changing the tax policy. It was a reversal from a 2017 decision by former Gov. Rick Snyder that practically barred farmers from using their lands for solar power development.

Snyder's policy allowed wind turbines and cell phone towers to be placed on land in the program, but if farmers wanted to sign commercial solar leases, they had to end their contracts with the state promising to maintain land for agricultural use, potentially costing them thousands of dollars. Ending the agreement earlier than the 10-year minimum meant repaying the last seven years of tax credits with 6 percent interest.

Environmental, conservation and agriculture groups said Whitmer's new policy will produce an important new revenue stream for farmers. Rural communities also will benefit from jobs and economic boosts that come with solar installations, they said.
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