In recent months, many landowners in the Northeast have been approached by solar developers who are looking to lease the landowner's property in order to install a solar project. This has raised a question for many landowners, “Is this a wise use of my land?”
Solar Developers are looking for strategic landowners who are willing to lease their land for 20+ years. These leases are long-term, legally binding contracts, so it is important for landowners to consider the implications of future use of the land as well as the impact to future generations.
Don’t go at it on your own. Get legal advice that can help you negotiate the terms of a fair deal. There are liabilities that come along with leasing your property. Make sure you are informed of the risks.
It is also important to consider the implications of parts of the property that are not leased. Will there be building restrictions or other limitations that restrict the use of the land that is not leased?
Ask the Developer for references to other landowners who are under contract. Good questions to ask other landowners would be:
- Was the project completed in the time allotted?
- Did they take care of your property?
- Are they paying as promised?
- Are they maintaining your land as promised?
- What is the end of term arrangement?
- Who will take care of the system removal at the end of the lease?
SEIA has put together a great document titled Guide to Land Leases for Solar that may be an additional resource to you.
Leasing land to a solar developer may be a great way for landowners to make a decent income off their property with little to no work on their part. Do your homework, get help and work with a reputable company.