Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pavilion Township grower Mark Elzinga objects to tax bill increase at his solar-powered greenhouses

By Pat Temple
Special to the Gazette

PAVILION TOWNSHIP — The owner of a Kalamazoo County greenhouse who thought he was in step with Michigan’s alternative energy push with his $4 million investment instead feels burned by the tax man.

Solar panels help provide power to the Elzinga and Hoeksema Greenhouse at 5268 East O Ave. in Pavilion Township.
Mark Elzinga, president of Elzinga & Hoeksema Greenhouses, got hit with a hike of nearly $8,000 in his winter property tax bill because of the way the solar panels and other energy efficiencies he installed at his Pavilion Township greenhouses are classified.

Elzinga in 2007 installed 200 solar panels to heat water that is piped through 23 miles of under-floor tubing and is used to heat his greenhouses. The heating system and two wind turbines he installed were designed to cover 80 percent of his energy needs.

Elzinga thought that investment had him in lockstep with the state’s desire for more efficient and eco-friendly energy, noting that in her February State of the State address Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Michigan had already made renewable energy a key focus of its economic development strategy. FULL STORY

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