Alternative Energy: Solar

Solar energy is the curation and distribution of radiant light waves and the heat it generates over technologies that convert it into power. Landowners need only preoccupy themselves with understanding active solar as pertains to a lease agreement. Solar energy is inexhaustible – both in energy production and in industry growth.

Growth and Potential of the Solar Energy Industry

Throughout the world, the use of solar cells to generate power expands by over 50% each year with thousands of large-scale solar farms being developed.

Characteristics of the Type of Land Needed for a Solar Ground Lease

Land that is viable for a solar farm lease has many qualifying characteristics. The location of the land is a principal factor for solar energy production. For obvious reasons, California has become a prominent location for solar energy production. The potential for solar farms increases in areas that are closer to the equator which provide more solar radiation. However, advances in technology have made it possible for other states such as Massachusetts, Texas, and New York to be prime areas for harnessing solar energy. The type of land that is most suitable for photovoltaic cells and solar farm leases are elevated, previously developed land, contaminated or brownfield land, industrial land, or agricultural land with agricultural land being the least preferred.

Industry Terms

Advanced Energy Solutions (AES): Solar projects that are tailor-managed to maximize bill savings, optimize for the number of users on the system, and allow for adaptation of solar facilities by employing advanced technology and services.

Change Order: A notice of modifications that need to be added or removed from the original agreed upon scope. These need to be signed by both parties of the solar lease agreement.

Community Solar Garden (CSG): Any large-scale solar installation of 1 MW or more that can be tapped into by local businesses or communities who are off site from the installation.

Operating Lease: A financial agreement between a solar energy company and a landowner in which the company owns, maintains, and operates the solar system in exchange for lease payments.

De-rate Factors: Characteristics that might impede the production capacity of a solar system. Examples include but are not limited to, shading, panel soiling, or inefficiencies.

As-Built Set: The final set of design sketches that will be used for building and installation of the solar company’s system. This draft shows the exact dimensions, geometry, and location of the parts of the system.

Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC): Acronym commonly used in the industry when relating to the development and operations of a site.

DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy): An online database that provides information on solar incentive programs and policies by state.

National Electric Code (NEC): A standard for the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment in the US. While this is not a federal law, it is typically adopted by states and municipalities in an effort to standardize their enforcement of safe electrical practices.