As more homeowners and businesses evaluate going solar in light of Governor Hochul’s ambitious NYS climate goals, only some have the opportunity to install panels on their property. How can we collectively meet these goals when not all corporations or property owners have the infrastructure to switch to solar? This is where solar land hosting plays an important role to help benefit our communities.
What is solar land hosting?
What is solar land hosting (aka community solar hosting)? Land hosting is a solar option that allows landowners’ property to generate a stable revenue stream while producing electricity for their local community. The solar host (landowner) will receive revenue for leasing a portion of their property to a solar developer, to build a solar array that will generate energy for a certain community.
Homes and businesses that cannot install solar on their sites, perhaps due to lack of ownership, shading, or other structural reasons that will cause issues, can subscribe to the solar array hosted on that land, which allows clean, low-cost energy for everyone. It’s a win-win! Although solar farms are popping up throughout NY, multiple gigawatts remain under development and need to be utilized. Some projects are mired in permitting issues with local municipalities, while others need help with high utility upgrade costs.
What makes a good solar land host site?
There are still areas ripe for development, particularly closer to major population centers with lots of consumption.
Landowners within these regions now have the opportunity to generate stable revenue while helping their larger community access clean, renewable energy, while lowering their energy costs.
NYS has set a goal to deploy 10GW of distributed solar by 2030. Half of that has already been dedicated, but work remains to build this capacity. More must be done to accelerate those projects into construction and encourage future projects to meet this ambitious goal.
When GreenSpark is evaluating a site’s potential for solar, here are a few things to consider:
- Land that is 20 or more acres
- Three-phase power (to find this out, look at a utility pole nearby, and if it has three wires on top, it is three-phase power)
- A limited number of projects in the interconnection queue
Our goal is to partner with local landowners, solar developers, and communities to find the best economic and environmental opportunities for all.
What do typical land host structures look like with GreenSpark?
We understand that solar is an investment, and we always want to ensure a quality installation, but it’s essential to know that every solar project is different!
A typical land host structure will include the following:
- 20 -25 year agreements
- Typical lease rates include $1,000- $2,000 per acre* with a 1-2% escalation each year.
- GreenSpark will remove panels at the end of the contract
- Agreements offer the opportunity to partner with a local, independent company and Certified B Corp while hosting clean, locally-generated solar to benefit our communities.
*Price per acre will vary depending on the interconnection cost, project size, property taxes, and permitting requirements.
The future of solar land hosting
Communities across NYS are embracing solar and recognizing the environmental and economic benefits it can offer to our communities. However, there are still holdouts, where restrictive policies have been enacted that make it burdensome and nearly impossible to build solar in some cases.
To help achieve the State’s goals, more efforts to incentivize communities to provide a good path for building ground-mount solar need to be enacted and encourage local municipalities to participate.
The solar industry will continue to create strategies that find landowners with the most interest and impact on neighbors and communities. Quality solar installations that are built in collaboration with the community are possible. Let’s do it together!