Debunking Four Solar Farm Myths

Solar energy is positioned to become one of the most important pieces of America’s energy supply, especially as the Biden administration is transitioning the country from fossil fuels to renewable resources. One would expect landowners specifically, including farmers, to embrace sustainable energy as a welcomed source of extra income, but some do not. Oftentimes, there’s a reluctance to consider opportunities presented by developers. In hopes of educating those who have their doubts, what follows are a few of the more popular solar energy myths, debunked.

1. Solar farms risk going "belly-up"

For some, the fear of bankruptcy is tied to the thought of solar projects. Some believe the project developer and their creditworthiness is at stake. However, while project developers have a crucial role in planning and constructing the solar project, once it is operational, it is secured by a long term power purchase agreement (PPA) with the utility company. From then on, it is typical to have the project traded between developers and investment companies. So regardless of who owns the project, the utility will still be on the hook for purchasing power. All in all, maybe a better question to ask would be, “what are the odds the utility will go bankrupt?”. While this can happen, the odds are low.

2. Projects leave a mess at the end

Some landowners fear — once the project development approaches an end — that panels, wiring and sub-surface improvements will need to be cleaned up and removed from the property at their own expense. Most solar lease options include a decommissioning provision, which requires the project owner to remove the panels at the end of the term. But one question remains: “What if the owner decides that it is not worth the expense to remove?”

Decommissioning provisions can be required by law, depending on the state and can stipulate that, if panels or other unwanted materials remain on the property, the project owner must pay rent to the landowner. It’s important to note, though, that unlike other long-term infrastructure projects — like wind turbines or cell phone towers — solar farm construction is simple: solar projects require a series of fixed posts, each placed six feet into the ground, and removing them is much less expensive, comparatively. Additionally, the panels are made of highly valuable metals which can easily be salvaged in the event of a financial upside.

3. There will always be time

After developers extend offers, many landowners tend to think they can wait six months, or six years, before making a decision. However, one key constraint in solar development is the utility infrastructure, which can reach capacity as more solar farms are developed, since each power line and substation has a specific voltage it can handle. So a landowner might have property near a substation that initially offers a perfect solar project site, but if a project is then constructed on another property a mile down the road, you may no longer have the opportunity to move forward with your plans.

4. The land is tied up for years before rent begins

Some landowners can worry about their land being tied up for a few years before the rent starts to come in. Sometimes, when the property is currently being farmed or used recreationally, there is no limit on such usage during the development period. “Tying up” the property may indicate a loss in flexibility, but, if you’re a farmer in the growing season, for example, developers are often happy to include crop provisions to compensate the landowner for the potential damages. After working closely with landowners and developers over the years, we’ve learned that it helps for landowners to be specific about their concerns.

One unavoidable challenge, however, is the time investment. Developers must do their due diligence — investigating engineering, interconnection applications, permitting and more — all before the likelihood of the project’s success is evaluated. So while it may seem like a “tie up,” there are legitimate reasons developers take their time.

Landowners can be reluctant to seriously consider solar farms, mainly because they are afraid of bankruptcy, the mess, and being tied up for years on end. Fortunately, these misconceptions about solar farms are easy to disprove, and well-informed landowners will evaluate the value of such opportunities as they come. Gaining a true understanding of the opportunities renewable energy provides is the only way we can come closer to achieving any serious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

With that said, as a landowner, it can be hard to know who to trust and what information is available. That’s where NLR Solar comes in. NLR Solar’s team is dedicated to identifying sites for solar projects and helping secure land agreements with the country’s top solar developers. We act as an intermediary between developers and landowners to the benefit of not only the parties involved but also the community and environment. If you’re interested in learning more about what NLR Solar can do for you and your community, give us a call at (904) 906-4113, or contact us for a complimentary site evaluation!

Farming the Countryside – A Podcast

Farming the Countryside Episode 224: The Opportunities and Challenges with Solar Leases

Andrew McCrea, creator of the Farming the Countryside podcast, welcomed NLR Solar’s Nathan Fabrick and Clark Merritt on his show to candidly discuss the opportunities and challenges landowners and developers alike face when negotiating solar leases. The three tackle topics such as:

  • The real differences between solar and wind opportunities
  • Solar project versatility
  • Questions landowners should ask before leasing their land for solar
  • Common agreement terms and option periods
  • End of term expectations

You can listen to the full episode below:

As Andrew mentioned in the episode, it can be difficult for landowners to navigate and decipher a developer’s intention and reputation. This is exemplified as the solar market continues to heat up and landowners are receiving multiple pieces of outreach from multiple sources. That’s where NLR Solar comes in.

NLR Solar’s team is dedicated to identifying sites for solar projects and helping secure land agreements with the country’s top solar developers. We act as an intermediary between developers and landowners to the benefit of not only the parties involved but also the community and environment as well. If you’re interested in learning more about what NLR Solar can do for you and your community, give us a call at (904) 906-4113, or contact us for a free site evaluation!

Community Solar and Ohio’s HB450 Bill: What You Should Know

What is Community Solar?

Community solar projects can be defined as solar projects, within a geographic area, in which the benefits of a solar project flow to multiple customers. These are typically state-sponsored programs for renewable energy generation installed on lands adjacent to existing powerlines and grid infrastructure. An example of a community solar program could be a large array of solar panels in a field that provides the residents of nearby communities with power and reduces their overall electricity costs.

Community solar projects are becoming increasingly commonplace, as roughly ⅓ of states have adopted some form of community solar legislation. These laws impose stringent building rules and regulations on community solar projects to ensure that the project will not be detrimental to the environment, and will not negatively affect the residents’ current energy arrangements. In states that have yet to pass such legislation, community solar projects are typically undertaken by local utility companies.

There are many situations in today’s world where a community solar project makes sense. Oftentimes “greenfield” community solar projects are common in more rural areas, as their larger sizes allow more people to draw power from the array. These kinds of projects provide the benefits of solar power without the need to install panels on the roof of a home, as they are typically constructed “off-site,” meaning that the power is generated in a different location than the one that it is used in. Subscribers to these types of projects can simply drive by the field with the array and see the project that they’ve helped to create and benefit from.

Community solar projects are exciting new ventures that will revitalize our power infrastructure and benefit the communities that they serve. The advantages to these kinds of renewable energy projects are numerous and further incentivize a transition to more renewable energy sources.

Benefits of Community Solar

There are a multitude of benefits to be gained from community solar projects at both the individual and commercial levels. For individuals, community solar projects allow access to solar power for those who live too far from a large-scale array and for whom a personal rooftop solar project would be too expensive or inaccessible. 

These projects also decrease the cost of electricity for its ratepayers, as offering more diverse sources of electricity means more supply with the same demand, therefore resulting in lower prices. This point was explained by Ohio State Representative Laura Lanese in a recent statement where she said, “It’s a simple matter of the law of supply and demand. If we increase supply while holding demand constant, prices will go down. Even if demand goes up, as it likely will, having access to more electricity generation sources will only help consumers stave off price increases.”

Another benefit to community solar projects that Lanese outlines in her statement is that of cleaner air. She states that the transition away from fossil fuels will result in cleaner air, improved health, and huge savings in healthcare costs. Lanese goes on to say, “It is estimated that fossil fuels cost the US nearly $120 billion in health care costs and contribute to four out of five of the leading causes of deaths.” In essence, community solar projects could help to improve the general health of citizens in the area as well as reduce healthcare expenses! 

Community solar projects also provide value in the way of national defense as our world becomes more reliant on renewable sources of energy. Lanese describes this in her statement, citing China’s current increased focus on renewable energy as one reason that the United States should continue investing in green energy sources like solar. Lanese states, “Most experts acknowledge that having access to renewable energy in the next fifty years could be a major factor in many future hostilities…Last year alone China installed a record 120 BW of renewable power more than twice the amount from the previous year.” Investing in renewable energy is a necessary measure to ensure the national security of our nation in the coming future. 

What Does HB450 Mean for Ohio?

HB450 is a bill currently being introduced to the Ohio legislature which seeks to encourage the construction of community solar projects in the state of Ohio through a variety of means. This bill will bolster Ohio’s power infrastructure, improve the lives of ratepayers, and help to meet the growing demand for renewable energy.

Lower Power Costs

  • One such initiative outlined in the bill will prevent changes to subscribers’ rates as a result of community solar projects. Essentially, these projects will keep the power bills down!
  • This stipulation will protect subscribers from price hikes as a result of community solar programs, as well as prevents them from being unjustly disconnected from service.
  • Increased electricity prices are often one of the largest concerns around community solar projects; however, based on the HB450 bill, it is an unfounded concern.
Power Grid Improvement

  • Community solar projects can lead to the improvement of the existing power grid.
  • Solar developers will fund overdue improvements to aging powerlines and other power infrastructures, thus creating a more reliable and resilient power grid.
  • Also included in the bill is financial assistance for companies who update the existing power infrastructure in order to construct their community solar projects. This is simply another incentive to produce more community solar projects in the state of Ohio.
Distressed Site Renovation
 
  • The final way that this bill will encourage new community solar programs is through the renovation of distressed sites. The bill seeks to use distressed sites, unusable tracts of land such as old landfills or coal ash piles, as locations for new solar developments. In this way, these sites will be revitalized and, once more, positively contribute to society through high-power generating solar projects.
  • Companies that use a distressed site as the location for their community solar project will be eligible to receive a grant from the Ohio Department of Development, thereby further incentivizing companies to build in Ohio.

Community solar is simpler than it may seem and initiatives like the ones included in HB450 are making it easier for individuals to incorporate solar power into their everyday lives! If you’re a landowner curious about how to lease your unused property for a solar project, why not reach out to one of our experienced professionals here at NLR Solar?

NLR Solar’s access to the extensive NLR agent network allows us to effectively evaluate your property to its fullest potential. We act as an intermediary between developers and landowners to the benefit of not only the parties involved but also the community and environment as well. If you’re interested in learning more about what NLR Solar can do for you and your community, give us a call at (904) 906-4113, or contact us for a free site evaluation!

Edited by Bryce Berglund

5 Questions You Should Be Asking Before Leasing Your Property for Solar

So, you’re a landowner. And one day, out of the blue, you get a call from a company telling you they’re interested in leasing or purchasing your land to develop a solar facility. The rate seems pretty attractive, but does the whole idea seem a bit too good to be true? Perhaps…

As a manager who has overseen the execution of 600 of these types of leases across 12 states, I can tell you there are some important questions that aren’t being asked. So, I’ve compiled a list of the top five questions landowners should be asking before leasing or selling their property for a solar project:

1. Is that really the actual dollar amount I’ll receive?

The eye-catching number is usually the above market lease rate. In some areas, developers are paying more than $1,000 per acre per year for farmland that you may have been leasing for $250 per year. However, due diligence periods can last two to three years with very little money at risk. Some developers will offer nothing, with the justification that the utility applications are expensive and they want to focus their investment on project development.

It’s true that it takes a while to achieve an interconnection agreement with the utility and there are significant costs involved, BUT it’s certainly fair that a landowner should receive some option money for the time. If nothing else, $1,000 to $2,000 per year is enough to ensure the developer is taking your project seriously. Remember, money talks, so ask for some of it up front.

2. Is the developer reputable?

What many landowners don’t know is that there are numerous small companies with little money and resources who will sign a lease option, then immediately sell the project to a bigger developer. While this isn’t always a bad thing, – because the little guys have great personalities, and like to hustle – you’re introducing a middleman who will be taking a big bite out of the profits and doesn’t have all the information.

So, make sure to look for companies who are designed to develop AND HOLD these projects long term. The best way to check on this is to ask how many projects they’ve constructed and how many they currently own! Also, check on the assignment language in the lease, and make sure that the developer can’t just flip the contract to anyone they choose. If you press them on it, legitimate developers will agree to some limitations or remove the clause altogether.

3. Should I lease or sell? Or both?

I’ve heard countless landowners say they have more interest in selling their properties rather than entering a long-term lease. Developers are happy to accommodate, assuming you will accept a low option premium and give them time to complete their interconnection and permitting before closing. However, what landowners don’t think about is that if you enter a long-term lease AND the project gets developed, then you can sell your property with the project on it as an investment property with a long-term revenue stream backed by a utility company.

For example, let’s say your property is worth $5,000 per acre for farming, and the developer wants to pay you $10,000 per acre for a purchase option. You may be able to get $15-$20,000 per acre if you go the lease route, then later sell the property to an investor.

4. Should I wait?

If you’ve ever seen the movie, “There Will Be Blood,” you’ll remember the scene at the end where Daniel Day Lewis is explaining to a man – who thought his property was valuable for oil deposits -that it is was worthless due to drilling on surrounding properties that extracted all the oil from under his land. Solar projects are not much different than the man’s situation in that the power needs to run through a substation, and substations can only handle so much power.

So, if you have a neighbor up the street who leases their land and an application is filed ahead of you, then they may take up all the power on the property, rendering your land useless for solar. Of course, you need to do your due diligence, but these offers have a timeframe.

5. Should I shop around?

When the solar craze hits your area, it may seem like the gold rush and you’re sitting on the mine. You may be tempted to shop around for the highest lease rate, but beware! The solar power purchase agreements issued by the utilities are often awarded by competitive bid. If the land lease rate is too high, then the project cost increases. This will then require the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) rate to be higher and bump the project out of contention.

Legitimate developers will recognize this and limit the rate they’ll pay. But often, it’s the smaller developers who will pay whatever it takes to tie the project up, only to have it sit on the sidelines when the awards are announced. The best way to get around this is to do your research on the developer. And just like with any company, a successful track record is usually the best indicator.

Always make sure to do your research beforehand and keep these five questions in mind when deciding whether to lease or sell your property for a solar project. If you’re already an owner of a project, NLR Commercial has resources to connect you with a list of qualified buyers. Our leading real estate firm has identified and secured over 600 properties since 2013 for lease options.

If you’re a landowner interested in having your property evaluated for solar or looking for the perfect buyer, please contact us for a free site evaluation.

Back to Basics: How a Solar Farm Works

Solar energy is plentiful, an abundant resource that has enormous potential for the future. Solar makes up a relatively small portion of the overall energy production in the United States, but that’s rapidly changing. Using solar energy allows individuals and business owners to save money on electricity while also reducing their carbon footprint. What’s more, solar power is a clean, renewable resource as well as the most readily available energy source.

With those being the benefits, why isn’t it more widely used? The answer is at least partially due to the inconsistency of solar power and the lack of storage. Let’s look at the basics of solar energy, along with the pros and cons.

Solar Energy is Efficient & Eco-Friendly

Solar energy is created by the sun at an impressive rate. Research from the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that enough sunlight hits the surface of the earth every 90 minutes to power the entire world’s energy needs for a year. Among renewable resources, solar energy is probably the most efficient.

Solar energy is much more environmentally friendly than traditional methods for generating electricity. If you’re a landowner, allowing your property to house a solar project may be an environmentally friendly and practical way to gain a new a revenue stream.

Here’s How It Works

A developer acquires a site lease on a property, builds a solar project, and establishes a long-term contract to sell the power back to the local utility. During the operating term of the project, which is typically anywhere from 25 to 40 years, the landowner is paid a fixed rent. It usually takes between 18 and 24 months from the time the site lease is signed to the time that the solar system is operational.

This situation is beneficial to the landowner because it provides a long-term fixed income and costs the landowner nothing. What’s more, during the lease period you as a landowner can use your property however you wish, even continuing to farm under certain conditions.

Would Solar Be A Good Fit for Your Property?

A site typically needs to be flat, clear, and dry to become a solar farm. That’s not all there is to it, though. Solar farms can range from as small as 5 Acres up to more than 1,000 Acres. It takes four to eight acres of suitable land to generate 1 MW of power, and while some community solar projects only require 1 MW, most developers are working to create solar projects of 10MW or greater, so they often combine several neighboring pieces of land to create a large enough site.

Your property doesn’t have to be completely flat to generate solar power. In fact, if it has a slight slope to the south or the east, that may be beneficial because it increases the sun exposure. Regulations vary from state to state but, in general, a solar farm cannot be constructed within a 100 or 500 year floodplain and cannot contain any wetlands. It must also be conveniently located to the utility’s infrastructure, adjacent to three-phase distribution lines and, ideally, close to a substation. The closer the solar farm is to a substation, the less energy is lost as it travels to that substation.

It can be complicated to get into solar development, but it helps to partner with a company with expertise in the field. NLR Solar helps match landowners with solar developers to build utility scale solar projects. With our extensive access to the NLR agent network, we can help inform landowners of the potential for their property and connect them with developers that can maximize its value. Acting as mediator between developers and landowners, we work to integrate solar development, benefiting not only those directly involved but also the communities served and the environment.

If you’re interested in being a part of this exciting new push toward sustainable energy, contact us through our website!

Why are Substations Important?

Solar energy development is gaining ground in the United States, and with good reason. It provides clean energy and reduces the user’s carbon footprint. It makes sense that many landowners would be excited about the idea of using a portion of their property as a solar farm, but there are many factors that come into play in terms of a project’s viability. One of these factors is appropriate substation access.

What are substations, and why are they important?

With any source of electricity, whether a traditional electrical plant or a utility-scale solar system, substations serve an important purpose. While a house needs roughly 120 volts of electricity to operate safely, transmission lines from power plants can carry extremely high voltage. A transmission line may have 34,500-500,000 volts running through it, and if all that power were to flow into one house, the results would be deadly. A substation serves to step up power to high voltages for travel between long distances and steps down the power to a safe voltage for human use at the commercial and residential level.

An electrical substation converts voltage from high to low thresholds, or low to high, which is vital because voltage varies significantly. This type of facility is designed to regulate energy throughout a certain region, sending power back and forth from suppliers to consumers. Solar farms use solar panels to utilize energy from the sun and then take that power and send it out to homes and businesses throughout the area. Many think of it like a switching station that the utility can control.

If you’re trying to develop your property for solar use, you’ll need a substation or transmission lines nearby, depending on the size of your property. When the infrastructure is located far away, a dedicated line, called a generation tie, will have to be constructed, at a cost of about one hundred dollars per foot. Because this cost is paid by the developer, a solar project that is far from a substation is not going to be as appealing as one that’s closer and more cost-effective.

It can be complicated to get into solar development, but it helps to partner with a company with expertise in the field. NLR Solar is a Division of National Land Realty (NLR), which is the most innovative and fastest growing land consultant firm in the United States. With our extensive access to the NLR agent network, we can help inform potential landowners about their property and connect them with developers that can maximize its value.

Connecting landowners with developers helps both parties make the most of their resources. Acting as mediator between developers and landowners, we work to smoothly and successfully integrate solar development, benefiting not only those directly involved but also the environment.

If you’re interested in being part of this exciting new push toward sustainable energy, contact us today!

Could Solar Power Help Save the World?

You have probably heard politicians and climate change experts bemoaning the future of our planet. Many argue that humankind has waited too long to take action, and now there is only the “slimmest of opportunities remaining” to avoid total environmental chaos. But it might not all be doom and gloom after all, thanks to solar power.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change

Fossil fuels are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions that trap heat and send the earth barreling toward 2.7 degrees F above preindustrial temperatures—the point of no return that could make it impossible to get the climate back to normal.

Fortunately, switching to renewable energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions without asking society to return to the Stone Age. The idea that people could rely primarily on renewable energy isn’t naively optimistic—it could actually work thanks to the falling costs and skyrocketing installation rates of solar panels.

Falling Solar Prices

Starting in about 2016, solar prices suddenly started to drop. It rapidly went from being one of the most expensive energy sources to one of the cheapest. Today, producing one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity using solar photovoltaics (PV) costs about $50 compared to $102 for coal.

In 2009, it cost $350 for PV energy, while coal remained around $102. This clearly indicates that the time of solar has arrived, which is great news for the entire planet!

Skyrocketing Solar Installations

Power producers have been responding to lower costs with an explosion of solar projects. Indeed, the US increased its solar power capacity by about 50 percent in just the past two years, now totaling over 100 gigwatts (GW). If the exponential growth of solar continues—along with the corresponding phasing out of fossil fuels and accelerated transition to electric vehicles—greenhouse gas emissions could possibly fall at the rates needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Now is the Time to Act!

The mainstream view is that it’s already too late to decarbonize the atmosphere fast enough to avoid permanently rising temperatures and trouble for the earth’s oceans and wildlife. But remember that just a decade ago, the current plateauing demand for coal and plunging solar prices were also outlandish. That’s why you should never say never—and stop waiting for others to drive change!

If you’re a landowner, you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the climate by putting unused acreage to good use as a solar farm. Not only can this decision help save the world, but it can put good money in your pocket as well. Many solar developers are willing to offer lease fees that far exceed the per-acre earnings from traditional farming and ranching. For help negotiating and navigating what can be a complex process with potential solar developers, turn to NLR solar. We have been helping landowners sign fair, profitable solar farm leases since 2014. Determining your site’s solar suitability is the first step, so contact us today to schedule a free, comprehensive evaluation.

The Cost of Solar is Decreasing

Solar is more affordable, accessible, and prevalent than ever before. Its growth over the past dozen years has been staggering, from just 0.34 gigawatts (GW) in 2008 to more than 100 GW today. That’s enough to power 18.6 million American homes.

While these figures sound impressive, solar only accounts for just over 3 percent of electricity production in the United States. This percentage has been slowly rising for over a decade. Still, analysts have long pointed out that a more robust transition to solar will only happen when this renewable energy source becomes cheaper than traditional fuels. Well, that day seems to have arrived. Indeed, recent rapid cost decreases could be a sign that the world is on the cusp of an energy revolution.

Solar-Powered Electricity Costs Less Than Coal

A levelized cost of energy (LCOE) analysis released in 2018 revealed that producing one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity using solar photovoltaics (PV) costs about $50. By comparison, producing the same amount of coal-fired electricity costs $102. The implication is clear—why would energy producers build more expensive fossil-fuel-powered plants when they could build cheaper, cleaner solar farms?

How Much Solar Power Does the US Need?

The response to decreasing solar costs is evident when you consider that more solar projects are being installed than any other type of renewable energy source. Indeed, the US has added about 36 GW of solar energy capacity in the past two years. This exemplifies the role solar plays in the transition to renewable energy and the fight against climate change.

The United States is trying to slash its carbon emissions to half the levels seen in 2005 by the end of the decade. How much solar power is needed to reach this goal?

Consider that with just 22,000 square miles of land—roughly the same surface area as Lake Michigan—solar farms could produce enough electricity to power every home and business in the country. Many of the United States’ solar panels are also installed on rooftops with essentially no land-use impacts. An estimated one in seven US homes will have rooftop solar panels by 2030, reducing the land-use requirements for solar farms even further.

Take Advantage of Decreasing Solar Costs

The drastic decline in solar prices over the past few years has increased the demand for solar farms. If you’re a landowner, consider leasing your property to a solar developer. The potential lease fee could far exceed the per-acre earnings from traditional farming and ranching. Plus, solar farms contribute to the renewable energy revolution and help ensure cleaner air and water for future generations.

The abundance and potential of solar power in the US is staggering. Now is the time to get involved! For help negotiating a deal with potential solar developers, turn to NLR solar. We have been helping landowners sign fair, profitable agreements since 2014.

A free, comprehensive evaluation tells you how suitable your land is for solar development, so contact us today to get started!

Energy Storage Investment Opportunities

There are a lot of misunderstandings out there regarding battery banks for energy storage. We’re here to put your concerns to rest and tell you about the energy storage investment opportunities for landowners.

Clean Energy & Battery Storage

Three primary types of clean energy are used today—solar, wind, and hydropower; nuclear power is arguably clean minus radioactive waste, but it’s not renewable considering the fuel that is required is not renewable. Batteries can be used in conjunction with solar panels, wind turbines, and hydroelectric dams, allowing energy to be stored for a short time, then ultimately pushed onto the power grid at an optimal time rather than becoming wasted energy.

Many people know about this battery storage application in the renewable energy space, however, fewer people are familiar with stand-alone, utility-scale Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS). These installations contain energy banks housed inside shipping containers or similarly shaped steel structures. Each cluster is connected to a substation to help manage supply and demand for the local electrical grid. The batteries pull power off the grid and store it when energy demand (and therefore the price) is low. Then, they push power onto the grid based on signals from substations when energy demand is high.

BESS projects are valuable resources that are already acting as worthwhile additions to our country’s electrical grid infrastructure. Here’s how they benefit everyone involved:

  • Customers enjoy more consistent electricity rates as well as seeing the ultimately lower priced energy given they aren’t paying a rate that accounts for wasted energy.
  • Utilities reduce costly energy losses.
  • The grid becomes more resilient during peak demand because, unlike gas peaker plants that take up to 10 minutes to react, a BESS can respond to changes in energy load or generation in milliseconds.
  • Developers profit by buying energy at a low rate, storing it in the batteries, and selling it to the utility company when power generation capacity is lower than demand.
  • Landowners lease their land to developers with lucrative results.

Why Landowners Should Invest in Energy Storage Systems

The only way stand-alone battery storage can be constructed in your community is if local landowners get involved. In order to build a BESS project on your land, it must be:

  • Located within extremely close proximity of a substation
  • At least one or two acres in size (most projects can be constructed on 10 or fewer acres)
  • Relatively flat and not located in a wetland environment
  • Accessible from a road for construction and maintenance purposes

These prerequisites are much more flexible than those needed to build a solar farm. For instance, because of the low acreage requirements, you have the opportunity to construct a BESS project even if you don’t own hundreds of acres of unused land. Plus, while solar power arrays are typically limited to rural areas, battery storage is common, and more valuable, in urban settings where substations are more numerous. Energy banks can even be installed on an existing foundation, such as a vacant parking lot.

Utility-scale energy storage is such an up-and-coming technology that few states have BESS programs in place for development incentives. This means many landowners will have a chance to participate in the future, even if they miss the window for other energy opportunities.

Leasing land for a BESS installation can prove incredibly lucrative for landowners, especially with the typical long-term lease ranging between 20 to 40 years. And remember, the developer is the one responsible for inspecting and maintaining the system, not the landowner.

How Battery Energy Storage Systems Benefit the Environment

BESS projects are far less invasive than other forms of power generation. In fact, they have the lowest impact of all clean energy sources. Here are the environmental benefits of battery energy storage:

  • No waste products: No fuel is consumed onsite, so every BESS installation has zero emissions. This means nothing harmful leaks into the air or soil, local water sources are preserved, and the batteries don’t give off radiation.
  • Not disruptive to neighbors: Battery banks can be easily hidden by landscaping to provide an unobtrusive installation. They also make limited noise, think sounds equivalent to a residential HVAC unit, and have no moving parts. These qualities ensure the project does not disturb uses on adjacent properties.
  • Low land impact: Once the system has completed its lifecycle, or you choose not to renew your lease when the contract expires, the installation is easily removed. Much of the equipment is recycled, and the land returns to its original condition.

Learn More about Investing in Energy Storage Solutions

If you have unused land that meets the basic requirements for a BESS project, you have a great chance of finding an interested energy developer. However, this doesn’t mean you should sign on the dotted line with the first company that comes knocking. NLR Solar can help you negotiate a profitable energy storage deal that will benefit you and your family for decades to come. Determining your land’s suitability is the first step, so contact us today to schedule a free, comprehensive evaluation.