If you own land you would like to lease, consider the installation of a solar farm. The state of New York currently has a high demand for sites to install large-scale solar electric systems. Solar developers are contacting farmers and landowners to secure long-term land leases; the amount of land desirable for a lease typically ranges from 10 to 30 acres. Visit this link to learn more about specific considerations, and the potential impacts of solar land leases. Mike Nuckols, Local Foods and Horticulture Program Manager with CCE Jefferson County, created a very useful resource on "Considerations When Leasing Agricultural Lands to Solar Developers."
For the SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association) guide for solar land leasing, including some questions for you to ask the solar developer that you are working with, click here.
Learn how solar land leasing might affect your agricultural assessment.
One of the most important considerations for whether your land is a viable option for hosting a solar farm is whether there is adequate capacity on the electrical utility lines nearby. Every utility in NY State is required to submit maps of their interconnection capacity, called capacity hosting maps. While they may not be super accurate, they do give a good starting point to see whether the lines adjacent to the property you are considering leasing can absorb more electricity. The Public Service Commission has a list of each utility's Utility Hosting Capacity Map; just click on your utility, then, ideally, look for 3-phase lines that still have some hosting capacity on them. The lines adjacent to your property are not likely to meet both those criteria, but the closer you can get the better.
The next step is to reach out to potential developers. A good place to start is with the list of solar developers already working in your area, which can be found on NYSERDA's list of solar farm developers in NY State. You may also consider listing your property with a group like https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org or https://www.solarlandlease.com. (We don't endorse either of these, but only mention them as possible resources.) Typically, you don't pay for listing your property, developers pay these services to get information about properties, but it's still a good idea to look closely at what you're signing up for.
Carly Summers, Ph.D.
Agriculture Issue Leader
Last updated December 14, 2022