Clean energy is growing in popularity, especially considering rising energy costs. If you’ve driven through the country in recent months, you may have noticed a plot of farmland or open acreage covered by solar panels. These are often referred to as solar farms.
Farmers and other landowners with acreage available are often approached by solar energy developers interested in building solar farms on their land. If you are a landowner and you’ve been approached by a solar energy developer looking to lease your land for a solar farm, it is important to know your rights and contact a solar lease attorney before you commit to anything.
As a landowner, there are details that you should understand before leasing your land to a solar developer. For example, you’ll want to know if there are any restrictions or ordinances in your local municipality that would prevent you from leasing your land for solar use. Additionally, there are several things you’ll want to discuss and have clearly outlined in your solar lease to protect yourself from potential loss.
Some of the more important details to negotiate and cover in your solar lease would include:
Developers will typically want to lease the land for 20 years or more. The lease should clearly outline the term and specific guidelines to ensure you are protected as the landowner.
Exact acreage and location being leased
It is very important to specifically document the exact amount of acreage and location of the land being leased to the solar developer.
Responsible party for taxes and expenses
Be sure to identify who is responsible for paying the real estate taxes and any other expenses, such as insurance, on the leased land. It is also important to specify who receives the tax incentives that may be available for the solar farm.
Maintenance of leased land
The lease should outline which party, you, or the developer, is responsible for the ground maintenance of the land as well as the penalties associated. Further, if the developer is responsible and fails to maintain the leased land as agreed, what happens?
Rental fee and terms
Clearly define when you should be paid for the leased land and how much within the solar lease. This amount can vary depending on calculations and details decided on between you and the developer.
There is a lot to consider when negotiating with a solar developer, and you will want to have a solid lease agreement in place to protect yourself, your land, and your operations. Solar leases can be complicated and often slanted in favor of the solar company. It is recommended that you contact an attorney experienced in solar lease negotiations if you are considering a solar lease agreement in Pennsylvania.
Contact a Solar Lease Attorney in Harrisburg. PA
Attorney Jacob H. Kiessling from the Mette, Evans & Woodside team understands the impact a solar lease can have on landowners and has represented hundreds of clients over the past several years. Attorney Kiessling is a solar lease attorney in Harrisburg, PA, with extensive experience reviewing and negotiating solar and other alternative energy leases.