Llano School Land solar project likely

By Phil Reynolds

The Highlander

Llano County commissioners took what Precinct 4 Commissioer Jerry Don Moss called “an important step” Monday when they endorsed a proposal for New Braunfels Utilities to buy electricity from the Big Dog Solar Project.

The Big Dog project is part of a contract between Llano County and E.ON North America to allow solar electricity generating panels on Llano ISD public school land in Tom Green County. Under the contract, E.ON will have some time to explore the viability of the project, and once that’s finished, will begin building the panels.

Moss negotiated the contract for commissioners court.

The contract calls for the project to use dedicated public school land. Llano ISD owns 17,600n acres under Texas’ school lands law, which sets aside property to be used for public school income, but Llano County administers the property on behalf of the school district.

Contract negotiations called for E.ON to pay $25 per acre per year during the exploratory phase and $250 per acre per year or more once the project is under way. That could mean as much as $1.62 million per year in lease income for the school district.

Part of that income also would go to Burnet Consolidated ISD, since some children in Llano County attend Burnet schools.

Moss said during the preliminary phases of negotiations and research the land could continue to be used for agriculture and hunting leases. Even after the solar panels are operating, Moss said, the school district would retain mineral rights under the surface of the property.

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