SULLIVAN COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – A new solar farm is a step closer to coming to Sullivan County.

The Sullivan County Redevelopment Commission designated land near Merom as a revitalization area for a solar farm that would be operated by NextEra Energy.

The 2,400 acre property is expected to bring $30 million in tax revenue to the county and about 300 construction jobs. That $30 million in revenue is estimated over 30 years of the project lifespan. The 200 megawatt solar facility has the capacity of powering roughly 65,000 homes.

In addition, the plan is to use plenty of local labor in the process. All of this was a factor in the decision by the redevelopment commission. SCRC Member Doug Bates said that this project could help benefit the county.

“I’m excited for Sullivan County to get this money and I’m excited for Merom and New Lebanon to have these solar fields here because I think it will benefit everybody in the long run,” Bates said.

This is the first step in a long process of getting a tax abatement for the solar farm. The next step for NextEra is getting approval from the Sullivan County Commissioners followed by the Sullivan County Council.

“That’s rolled onto the Commissioners and that will roll onto the council members once that’s done,” Bates said.

Bates mentioned that there are other solar farm tax abatement requests in the works in the county. Projects from Duke and Invenergy are in a similar situation as NextEra with the need of commissioner and council approval.

In a presentation giving by a NextEra representative, the possibility of a vegetative buffers would be placed around the solar panels.