HARRISBURG, Pa. — Solar energy companies have been looking to develop numerous renewable energy projects in Pennsylvania. For instance, Pennsylvania state government has started the processing of purchasing more renewable energy to power state-owned facilities, while other government entities and businesses are making similar renewable energy commitments. Many of these projects in Pennsylvania will likely involve farmland. Leases can last for 30 years or more. And while the land can eventually be returned to agriculture uses, the potential growth of solar energy facilities could tie up acres of farmland for a generation or more.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and Penn State Extension are partnering to create a webinar series that will explore solar energy and the information that landowners need to know if they are approached for potential development. This is an educational series only. Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and Penn State Extension are not advocating for solar energy development, but want to make sure that landowners understand every facet of what is driving this growth, and what they need to know should they consider a lease.
Pre-registration is required for each of these webinars. We encourage you to view all three to get a full understanding of the potential impact of solar on Pennsylvania.
Three sessions are scheduled:
Session 1: Why Here, Why Now? – Aug. 4, noon to 1:15 pm
What is driving the construction of large solar facilities in the state? Where are they planned? What do companies look for in determining how to site a low-impact solar project? What are the impacts to farmland in PA? And what are the first steps to consider if approached by a solar company interested in leasing part or all of your land for utility scale solar? This session will cover those key topics and a number of other key important issues landowners are currently facing as solar energy production expands across PA. Also as par of this session, there will be a short virtual tour to better illustrate what utility scale solar looks like and a close-up view of the technologies being deployed in the state.
Session 2: Understanding Key Lease Terms – Aug. 18, 7 p.m. to 8:15 pm
As utility scale solar projects are increasingly proposed across Pennsylvania, greater numbers of landowners are being approached by land agents, working for solar companies, interested in leasing their land. This session will give a short overview of what these large solar facilities look like, how the technology operates, offering an illustration of how they might impact their property, should they choose to lease to one of the companies. There will also be a high level discussion on the main components of an option and lease agreement, a review of commonly offered financials, and an outline of general lease terms which a landowner should know before assessing leases they might be offered.
Session 3: Negotiating Terms of a Solar Lease – Sept. 8, noon to 1:15 pm
Solar option and lease agreements are complicated and carry long lasting implications for landowners. It is important to understand the terms of what is being offered in the contracts beyond the potential financial windfall. The attorney leading this session will explore in depth, the top contractual terms which commonly show up in leases, what agreement language is more commonly negotiated with solar companies, and where the “redlines” are during lease revisions. This will be a deeper dive into solar leases to inform landowners, as they discuss their leases with their own attorney, and then potentially negotiate the agreements with an interested solar company.
–Pennsylvania Farm Bureau