Make Money from Unusable Land

There is a common understanding of the renewable energy industry as a burgeoning financial beast. The amount of land needed to satiate this beast can’t even be described, as the demand for renewable sources of energy climb every day. If you have unusable land you can still make money and take advantage of the growing demand for renewable energy.

There are many instances in which a landowner might be left with a vacant, unusable parcel. Buying property that might not have roads or access to utilities or water means they might not be able to market it very well.

There are many vacant properties in the U.S. such as these that have been erroneously deemed ‘unusable land’. I’m going to proffer, in fact, that these landowners have another option – feeding the beast. Those who invest in environmentally reconstituted land development can benefit financially with property that might not be usable for any other purpose.

Solar Farms Can Be Built on Unusable Land

Over the last 10 years the solar industry has enjoyed a 60% compound annual growth rate. Utility-scale solar farms represent two-thirds of the market and this is expected to grow through 2017 with a series of projects scheduled totaling more than 20 gigawatts.


Giga-what? You heard me! One of the preeminent ways to take advantage of your “unusable” land is through establishing agreements with solar energy companies. Any type of flat land will do and the soil type is not important either. More specifically, photovoltaic cells can be placed on most unusable land. It’s best if the land is located outside of flood zones, and not near plants that might grow tall enough to block the infrastructure. Property that has been deemed unusable for agricultural or commercial development purposes gets a chance at new life as solar farm land.

Make Money from Unusable Land with a Wind Farm

Wind energy is abundant and requires no water or fuel to run a dream for owners of unusable land! It is also an easily scalable form of energy and can be constructed in a year. At least, 26% of the electricity generated in South Dakota comes from wind farms and wind share in the State of Iowa could reach half by 2018.

The land necessary for wind farms is not unlike that needed to develop a solar energy farm. Dry soil not near wetlands or flood zones is very important. Furthermore, property should not be categorized as an environmentally protected area. Flatlands unobstructed by vegetation and not near neighborhoods or heavily populated areas work best. Roughly 60 acres of land is needed to generate a megawatt of energy. If the land has existing transmission lines – better still! Even if the soil on your land is soft, you can still lease to a wind energy company. During construction the subsurface soil will be mixed with clay and then compressed to produce a stable pile foundation.

The turbines themselves occupy a small area of land but keep in mind that the infrastructure surrounding the wind turbines include electrical access, road systems, and the construction crews required to implement these things. Keep the size of the land required for a project such as this in mind.

For larger wind farm projects, having access to transmission lines is necessary. However, whether your land already has access or not doesn’t matter. It is more expensive to build the infrastructure if the land is lacking in utility access, so land with good wind and access to transmission is ideal.

How to Make Money from Unusable Land 

Now that you understand that your land is not forever doomed as “unusable”, what do you think it is capable of? You have a good understanding of your property’s attributes, but have you given much thought to who might actually desire those attributes? As you run through the qualities, decide which of the land uses you best believe your property fits into and try and market it from that standpoint.