Fort Worth ISD trustees voted Dec. 16 to enter into a Chapter 313 agreement with Hanwha Q Cells Americas Holdings Co. that could result in a multi-million-dollar payout to the district in the future.
In a special meeting, trustees heard a presentation and asked a series of questions about how the agreement could benefit the district and students both financially and in the creation of a future job market with the building of a new solar panel manufacturing facility.
Chapter 313, also known as the Texas Economic Development Act, allows businesses to build or expand their facilities in exchange for a 10-year limitation on their taxable property value.
Chapter 313 also allows school districts to share in the benefit of these large-scale economic developments by negotiating a percentage of the tax savings to be paid to the district and ensure it is protected against any financial harm.
Hanwha approached Fort Worth ISD for an agreement for a site the company is considering in Tarrant County and Parker County for a new solar panel manufacturing facility.
Hanwha says it will invest approximately $1.3 billion in a 5.7 million square-foot building and in equipment. Hanwha says it expects the project to create an impactful number of high-quality, high-paying jobs.
Under the agreement, the district will receive direct payments from the company – an estimated $27 million dollars in the 10-year period between 2026-2035. These supplemental and revenue protection payments may be used to provide additional funding towards student achievement opportunities in Fort Worth ISD.
Hanwha says it expects to break ground by the second quarter of 2023 and begin production start-up and testing in early 2024. Commercial operations would begin in the fourth quarter of 2025.