As State governments across the US request higher utilization of renewable energy sources from companies supplying electricity, the demand to identify sites for generating solar and wind energy is on an increase. This could mean good news for land owners that are willing to lease their land for the production of solar energy and wind energy.
A recent article, Wanted: Niagara County Farmland, Space for Solar Panels, highlights how agricultural land owners in New York may have the opportunity to lease their farmlands to solar energy companies for more money than the land currently produces as a farm.
"In New York, we're seeing upwards of $800 to $1,000 an acre per year for a fixed 20-year lease," said Nathan Fabrick of National Land Realty. "The lease payments these properties can support are generally greater than they can get from agricultural uses…there's several hundred sites on our radar."
Solar Site Selection: Identifying Property for Solar Farms
So how do solar energy companies select solar farm sites? Many companies in the clean energy sector, including solar and wind, require property parcels containing hundreds of acres in order to make a lease profitable. The advanced search feature in ReportAll Online provides instant access to a nationwide parcel data. A company looking for property parcels containing hundreds of acres, whether for wind or solar energy production, can simply choose a state, input acreage requirements and see data on all parcels that fit their specifications. This data can then be downloaded as a spreadsheet (either excel or .csv file), Google Earth format (KMZ/KML) or ESRI Shapefile.
In the case of the Niagara County project, the land brokerage company has identified the properties after examining parcel boundary maps, aerial photos and locations of high-tension electric transmission lines. The next step is to then send letters to these landowners outlining interest in leasing the land on behalf of solar developers.
The image entitled Advanced Search Example illustrates the advanced search feature of the ReportAll Online nationwide parcel database. In this example, a user would input an area by county, state or zip code (Niagara, NY), a land use class (agricultural) and search by acreage. There are a variety of combinations a land brokerage company, solar energy or any other company may choose to identify land parcels of interest.
The image below, entitled Search Results, include sixty-six parcels within Niagara County, New York that fit the criteria of having over one hundred, fifty acres while being classified as agricultural land use.