Landowner Resources for Grid-Scale Solar
Large solar installations designed to produce power for the grid, often called grid-scale solar, are being developed throughout the Commonwealth. These projects are typically installed on lands leased from PA landowners.
Currently there are over 10 gigawatts (GW) of proposed solar energy in the PJM grid queue, most of which are large scale solar installations. Grid scale solar can be defined as a solar photovoltaic system that participates in the wholesale electrical market and typically produces electricity for sale, not to offset local energy demand. These solar projects are constructed on large, leased parcels of land, and a landowner may have questions about the development process as well as the land lease terms proposed by the developer. The following resources are provided to landowners interested in learning more about leasing land for grid scale solar. Landowners interested in installing solar panels for their own use should check the resources provided on the Residential page.
Leasing Your Land
Farmland owners are increasingly being approached by developers looking to lease their land for grid-scale solar projects. Landowners working with developers should investigate local township or government ordinances as they may also have restrictions on land use. Before signing any contract, you should consult with an in-state attorney or a legal professional who can review the proposed lease contract and answer any specific questions you may have. Looking for more information on leases? In order to better understand the solar energy development and land leasing process involved, check out the resources below:
- The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission factsheet provides information for landowners on land lease agreements.
- The Penn State Extension provides information on property evaluation, lease document and concerns related to those documents as well as other landowner considerations for grid-scale solar leases.
- Additionally, the Penn State Extension has a series of webinars that focus on solar topics such as leasing, land use, and environmental concerns.
- The Solar Energy Industry Association has a Guide to Land Leases for Solar that walks thru the steps of both the solar lease and development processes, as well as provides a list of questions to ask a solar developer.
- The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture provides links to various state Farmland Preservation programs that may be important when considering leasing your land to a solar developer. The Clean and Green Program, managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture may contain restrictions on where solar projects may be sited on your land.
- Ohio State University has created a Farmland Owner’s Guide to Solar Leasing which provides information on lease agreements and considerations when leasing your land for solar.