September 23, 2021

Why Landowners Must Lease Land to Solar Gardens?

  • Posted in:   2021-09-22
  • Written by  2021-09-22

A solar garden space sits on a sunny day while SunShare explains the leasing process for communal solar gardens

As a growing number of people make the switch to solar energy, there’s been a significant increase in demand for alternatives to traditional rooftop panels. For many different reasons, a rooftop system isn’t ideal in certain situations – but now, community solar gardens are offering a new way to go green. At SunShare, we are among the industry’s top leaders for solar development, largely focusing on building, activating, and managing community solar gardens.

And even though we receive a large number of inquiries from potential community solar subscribers, we also frequently hear from landowners who want to know: “Should I lease my land to solar company development?”

At SunShare, our answer to this question is (naturally) an emphatic yes. And while being able to lease land for solar farm development allows us to expand our efforts to make renewable energy more accessible, we aren’t the only ones with something to gain. In fact, landowners considering leasing land for solar panels with SunShare can also look forward to a long list of perks.

When you decide to rent your land for solar farm development and energy production, you set yourself up for a broad range of benefits. From the added revenue to community impact, there are many reasons why leasing land for solar power could be one of the best decisions you ever make.

What is Community Solar?

First things first: what is a community solar garden? If you’re wondering, “Should I lease my land for solar?” The first step should be to understand what you’d be signing up for.

A solar garden is a centrally-located system of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, operated according to a subscription-based system. Whether you know them as “solar farms,” “shared solar,” or any one of the many other names, the concept remains the same.

Subscribers to community solar opt for the rooftop system alternative for various reasons, including the setup of their property (i.e., an unsuitable roof slope), the prohibitive upfront cost of solar panels, or rental property restrictions. The monthly subscription fee gives them partial “ownership” of a set amount of energy produced by their garden, which is then credited to them on their utility bills.

These solar projects (gardens) are built on about 10-40 acres of open land and are directly connected to the local utility to supplement the grid with renewable energy.

How Much Do Solar Farms Pay to Lease Land?

When it comes to how much money you can receive for leasing land for solar, there are a few different factors at play. As you would expect, the amount of land leased is key, and the lease terms may vary slightly depending on the developer.

For a 30-year lease, the revenue can easily reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars range.

The amount you receive in rent paid by the solar company will nearly always exceed the revenue possible via agricultural endeavors, and the profits will certainly be much more than you would receive from dormant land.

Why You Should Lease Your Land to a Solar Developer

When you consider the potential payoff of a land lease to a solar farm, the dollars and cents speak for themselves. But beyond that, there are even more benefits to be had.

Here are just some of the reasons why landowners are choosing to lease land to solar farms:

You’ll earn passive income on your land, securing a stream of revenue for years to come.

With a solar lease, you will receive guaranteed payments for the project’s duration (usually 20-30 years). Meanwhile, your land will continue appreciating over time. Without any significant effort, you’ll generate income while still keeping the property in its original state for future use, a practice often called “land banking.”

Once the lease expires, the solar equipment is dismantled and removed. The land is then returned to you to use however you see fit, in “ready to plant/develop” condition. Throughout the entire term, you maintain ownership of the land.

Particularly for landowners with a specific property that is a financial burden, leasing to solar farms can be an outstanding way to turn an expense into a profit.

You’ll be making a positive contribution to sustainability efforts.

Not only can you profit financially from a solar farm lease, but you can also impact the future of our planet. Each and every solar farm reduces our reliance on fossil fuels, which decreases greenhouse gas emissions and helps our society work towards a more sustainable source of energy in the long term.

When you partner with SunShare in particular, you can do so knowing that you’re making the right move for the environment. We are committed to developing solar farms that complement any existing land uses/agriculture and respect the overall condition and “health” of the land itself. We strive for energy solutions that have a net-zero effect on the environment or even a positive effect.

For example, our solar farms in Minnesota participate in the “Pollinator Pledge.” This means that the landowners leasing their land for our solar farms are supporting statewide efforts to plant and maintain critical habitats for bees and other pollinators.

You’ll be putting your land to use for bettering the community.

At the heart of the SunShare mission is the desire to make solar energy accessible to all, including those who may not otherwise be able to afford it. Solar gardens are a wonderful way for people and businesses to access renewable energy without taking on the significant financial burden of rooftop installation.

While you receive a reliable stream of revenue, you’ll simultaneously be helping to create healthier, happier communities by expanding the accessibility of clean energy. On a global level, you’ll be joining us in the journey towards energy solutions that are safe and sustainable for our planet.

How to Get a Solar Farm on Your Land: Partner with SunShare

Signing any kind of lease that lasts ten, twenty, or thirty-plus years is a big decision – and, understandably, you’ll want to make sure it’s one that pays off in the short and long term. One of the most important parts of choosing to lease your land for solar is selecting the right developer, so you can be completely confident that you’re partnering with a company that has your best interests (and the needs of their subscribers) at heart.

SunShare is a leading developer of solar farms in Colorado and Minnesota, with 80 farms in operation and more than 20 others in progress. Ultimately, our mission has always been to provide a smart solar solution that benefits our subscribers, landowners, the community, and the environment. Whether you’re a farmer, a private landowner, or part of a family trust, we are committed to facilitating a positive experience that serves your needs.

Our team is always happy to share more information about our development process, how our projects help the community, and what makes us different from other solar farm developers. If you’d be interested in learning more about leasing land for a community solar farm, we would love to talk to you. Reach out to the SunShare team for more details about how you can join the future of sustainable energy solutions today.

Image Source: Joe Ferrer / Shutterstock