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Placer solar assessment reaches appeals panel agenda Monday

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Placer County’s Assessment Appeals Board will review the issue Monday of whether an array of 2,424 privately owned solar panels on county-owned land in North Auburn can be taxed as property. The panels are owned by Solar Power Partners of Mill Valley and supply electricity to the Juvenile Detention Center on Richardson Drive. The Assessor’s Office initially received a third-party request in mid-November from Auburn resident Chris Beckman to appeal the absence of an assessment and any tax payments. The Assessor’s Office took the request to the appeals panel Jan. 26. Beckman was not allowed to carry an appeal forward but the Assessor’s Office agreed to come back Monday with more information for the board. On Thursday, Solar Power Inc. chief financial officer Jeff Winzeler reiterated comments made Wednesday by Kirk Uhler, Solar Power vice president of government and industry relations, that their business is not a part of Solar Power Partners. Australia’s Macquarie Group Ltd., is a funding source for Solar Power Partners. Uhler is Placer County supervisor for Granite Bay. Kevin Eckard, chairman of the appeals board, said that a third-party request is unusual but that the panel has the ability under state law to look into whether information it receives is substantial enough to consider the issue. Eckard declined to comment on Beckman’s request because it is an issue still before the board. He did say that in his 16 years on the board, it had never before considered a third-party request.