Landowners around New York are sitting on a potential goldmine—leasing their land for solar. A solar land lease is a fantastic way to generate extra revenue with minimal effort. All you need is the right piece of land and a willing solar developer. With the increased demand for solar farms in recent years, finding the right developer should be no trouble at all. Leasing land for solar is a minimally intrusive, completely pollution-free way to generate passive income with hardly any effort at all for the landowner. So, if you are a New York landowner looking to make some extra money, a solar land lease is a real option.
What to Consider Before Leasing Land for Solar
Before you dive into a solar land leasing project, it’s important to consider a few big factors. Particularly in New York, where land is, of course, very valuable. If you’ve got unused land, or you’re looking to diversify and pursue an alternative revenue stream, consider these points.
Solar Panels: You’re probably aware of what solar power does and how it works. Maybe you’ve seen panels on a neighborhood house or a business nearby. On a solar farm, the core concept is the same, but the scale is much bigger.
Time Commitment: In order to generate the most revenue and get the very best out of the project, solar land leases are generally long-term commitments. Contracts are usually for a project lasting upwards of twenty years, with possible renewal options. Make sure you pick the right developer and do your research.
Taxes: With all the new revenue you’ll be generating from the solar land lease, you will, as with any other income, be subject to certain taxes. The taxes involved may differ from those associated with a traditional agricultural farm, so it’s probably best to seek the advice of a qualified taxation professional ahead of any decision.
How To Know If Your Land Is Right For Solar
New York landowners are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the demand for solar farms. According to the US Department of Energy, roughly 75% of property owners in New York are unable to go solar because of prohibiting factors like shade, rental constraints, roof size, and landscape features. This means that the right piece of land is in extremely high demand. But how do you know if your land is right? There are certain criteria to meet.
Size: The size of a solar farm varies from project to project, but there is usually a minimum size requirement for solar land leasing. Roughly 100 square feet houses 100 kW of solar panels.
Sunlight: Given the nature of solar panels, adequate sun exposure is a key factor in determining the viability of land for solar. Avoiding excess obstructions and shadows is vital. Smaller obstructions may be removed by the developer ahead of time, but bigger obstructions could be a dealbreaker.
Infrastructure: Access to infrastructure like roads and high voltage transmission lines will determine the viability of solar land as well. The ability to transfer the generated solar energy to a utility company ensures the profitability of a solar farm.
How Much Money a Solar Farm Can Make
The earning potential of a solar land lease is determined by a number of factors. Solar developers want to find the right parcel of land, and a number of variables determine the rates of the solar land lease. Below, we’ve outlined some of the key variables. Of course, many projects will have a number of other variables as well.
Land: In general, more land means more money. As noted above, 100 square feet typically houses 1 kW of solar panels. Therefore, more land means more generated energy and higher potential earnings.
Sun: The amount of sunlight hitting the land on an annual basis is a big factor for a solar developer. Obstructions and shadows limit sun exposure and, as a result, decrease the potential for energy generation. If your land gets plenty of sunlight each year, you’re in good shape.
Soil: This might seem like a concern for traditional agricultural farms, but it affects solar farms too. Stable, clear land is easy to build on, making the solar project more appealing. Unstable land and debris, on the other hand, could even be a dealbreaker.
Grid: As noted earlier, grid access is vitally important to the profitability of a solar land lease and, as a result, the potential earnings for the New York landowner.
Lease: When all the other factors are taken into account, the lease itself is the final piece of the puzzle. This lease, agreed between the landowner and solar developer, will take all these factors into account, ultimately determining the final rate of the solar land lease.
How To Lease Your Land For Solar
At YSG Solar, we make the whole process seamless for New York landowners. We cover those upfront costs that typically prohibit landowners when it comes to starting larger solar projects. Firstly, we will conduct a site assessment to generate a proposal. This proposal will show you how much revenue you can expect from the solar land lease. If you’re happy with the proposed revenue, we build everything and take care of all operations & maintenance moving forward. Everything from permitting to approvals and property taxes will be taken care of by YSG Solar. We do the work, you start earning immediately.
By Shane Croghan