Community Solar and Ohio’s Recent House Bill: What You Should Know

What is Community Solar?

Community solar projects can be defined as solar projects, within a geographic area, in which the benefits of a solar project flow to multiple customers. These are typically state-sponsored programs for renewable energy generation installed on lands adjacent to existing powerlines and grid infrastructure. An example of a community solar program could be a large array of solar panels in a field that provides the residents of nearby communities with power and reduces their overall electricity costs.

Community solar projects are becoming increasingly commonplace, as roughly ⅓ of states have adopted some form of community solar legislation. These laws impose stringent building rules and regulations on community solar projects to ensure that the project will not be detrimental to the environment, and will not negatively affect the residents’ current energy arrangements. In states that have yet to pass such legislation, community solar projects are typically undertaken by local utility companies.

There are many situations in today’s world where a community solar project makes sense. Oftentimes “greenfield” community solar projects are common in more rural areas, as their larger sizes allow more people to draw power from the array. These kinds of projects provide the benefits of solar power without the need to install panels on the roof of a home, as they are typically constructed “off-site,” meaning that the power is generated in a different location than the one that it is used in. Subscribers to these types of projects can simply drive by the field with the array and see the project that they’ve helped to create and benefit from.

Community solar projects are exciting new ventures that will revitalize our power infrastructure and benefit the communities that they serve. The advantages to these kinds of renewable energy projects are numerous and further incentivize a transition to more renewable energy sources.

Benefits of Community Solar

There are a multitude of benefits to be gained from community solar projects at both the individual and commercial levels. For individuals, community solar projects allow access to solar power for those who live too far from a large-scale array and for whom a personal rooftop solar project would be too expensive or inaccessible. 

These projects also decrease the cost of electricity for its ratepayers, as offering more diverse sources of electricity means more supply with the same demand, therefore resulting in lower prices. This point was explained by Ohio State Representative Laura Lanese in a recent statement where she said, “It’s a simple matter of the law of supply and demand. If we increase supply while holding demand constant, prices will go down. Even if demand goes up, as it likely will, having access to more electricity generation sources will only help consumers save off price increases.”

Another benefit to community solar projects that Lanese outlines in her statement is that of cleaner air. She states that the transition away from fossil fuels will result in cleaner air, improved health, and huge savings in healthcare costs. Lanese goes on to say, “It is estimated that fossil fuels cost the US nearly $120 billion in health care costs and contribute to four out of five of the leading causes of deaths.” In essence, community solar projects could help to improve the general health of citizens in the area as well as reduce healthcare expenses! 

Community solar projects also provide value in the way of national defense as our world becomes more reliant on renewable sources of energy. Lanese describes this in her statement, citing China’s current increased focus on renewable energy as one reason that the United States should continue investing in green energy sources like solar. Investing in renewable energy is a necessary measure to ensure the national security of our nation in the coming future.

What Does the Recent House Bill Mean for Ohio?

House Bill 450 is a bill currently being introduced to the Ohio legislature which seeks to encourage the construction of community solar projects in the state of Ohio through a variety of means. This bill will bolster Ohio’s power infrastructure, improve the lives of ratepayers, and help to meet the growing demand for renewable energy.

Lower Power Costs

  • One such initiative outlined in the bill will prevent changes to subscribers’ rates as a result of community solar projects. Essentially, these projects will keep the power bills down!
  • This stipulation will protect subscribers from price hikes as a result of community solar programs, as well as prevents them from being unjustly disconnected from service.
  • Increased electricity prices are often one of the largest concerns around community solar projects; however, based on HB450, it is an unfounded concern.
Power Grid Improvement

  • Community solar projects can lead to the improvement of the existing power grid.
  • Solar developers will fund overdue improvements to aging powerlines and other power infrastructures, thus creating a more reliable and resilient power grid.
  • Also included in the bill is financial assistance for companies who update the existing power infrastructure in order to construct their community solar projects. This is simply another incentive to produce more community solar projects in the state of Ohio.
Distressed Site Renovation
  • The final way that this bill will encourage new community solar programs is through the renovation of distressed sites. The bill seeks to use distressed sites, unusable tracts of land such as old landfills or coal ash piles, as locations for new solar developments. In this way, these sites will be revitalized and, once more, positively contribute to society through high-power generating solar projects.
  • Companies that use a distressed site as the location for their community solar project will be eligible to receive a grant from the Ohio Department of Development, thereby further incentivizing companies to build in Ohio.

Community solar is simpler than it may seem and initiatives like the ones included in HB450 are making it easier for individuals to incorporate solar power into their everyday lives! If you’re a landowner curious about how to lease your unused property for a solar project, why not reach out to one of our experienced professionals here at Scout Land Consultants?

Scout Land Consultants’ access to the latest listings and historical sales data, leading technology, and local experts allows our team to evaluate your property to its fullest potential. We act as an intermediary between developers and landowners to the benefit of, not only the parties involved, but the community and environment as well. If you’re interested in learning more about what Scout Land Consultants can do for you and your community, give us a call at (904) 906-4113, or contact us for a complimentary site evaluation!

5 Questions You Should Be Asking Before Leasing Your Property for Solar

So, you’re a landowner. And one day, out of the blue, you get a call from a company telling you they’re interested in leasing or purchasing your land to develop a solar facility. The rate seems pretty attractive, but does the whole idea seem a bit too good to be true?

As our team at Scout Land Consultants has overseen the execution of over 1,400 leases across 38 states, we can tell you there are some important questions that aren’t being asked. So, we’ve compiled a list of the top five questions landowners should be asking before leasing or selling their property for a solar project:

1. Is that really the actual dollar amount I’ll receive?

The eye-catching number is usually the above-market lease rate. In some areas, developers are paying more than $1,000 per acre per year for farmland that you may have been leasing for $250 per year. However, due diligence periods can last two to three years with very little money at risk. Some developers will offer nothing, with the justification that the utility applications are expensive and they want to focus their investment on project development.

It’s true that it takes a while to achieve an interconnection agreement with the utility and there are significant costs involved, BUT it’s certainly fair that a landowner should receive some option money for the time. If nothing else, $1,000 to $2,000 per year is enough to ensure the developer is taking your project seriously. Remember, money talks, so ask for some of it up front.

2. Is the developer reputable?

What many landowners don’t know is that there are numerous small companies, with little money and resources, who will sign a lease option, then immediately sell the project to a bigger developer. While this isn’t always a bad thing – because the little guys have great personalities and like to hustle – you’re introducing a middleman who will be taking a big bite out of the profits and doesn’t have all the information.

So, make sure to look for companies who are designed to develop AND HOLD these projects long term. The best way to check on this is to ask how many projects they’ve constructed and how many they currently own! Also, check on the assignment language in the lease, and make sure that the developer can’t just flip the contract to anyone they choose. If you press them on it, legitimate developers will agree to some limitations or remove the clause altogether.

3. Should I lease or sell? Or both?

Our team has heard countless landowners say they have more interest in selling their properties rather than entering a long-term lease. Developers are happy to accommodate, assuming you will accept a low option premium and give them time to complete their interconnection and permitting before closing. However, what landowners don’t think about is that if you enter a long-term lease AND the project gets developed, then you can sell your property with the project on it as an investment property with a long-term revenue stream backed by a utility company.

For example, let’s say your property is worth $5,000 per acre for farming, and the developer wants to pay you $10,000 per acre for a purchase option. You may be able to get $15-$20,000 per acre if you go the lease route, then later sell the property to an investor.

4. Should I wait?

If you’ve ever seen the movie, “There Will Be Blood,” you’ll remember the scene at the end where Daniel Day Lewis is explaining to a man – who thought his property was valuable for oil deposits – that it is worthless due to drilling on surrounding properties that extracted all the oil from under his land. Solar projects are not much different than the man’s situation in that the power needs to run through a substation, and substations can only handle so much power.

So, if you have a neighbor up the street who leases their land and an application is filed ahead of you, then they may take up all the power on the property, rendering your land useless for solar. Of course, you need to do your due diligence, but these offers have a timeframe.

5. Should I shop around?

When the solar craze hits your area, it may seem like the gold rush and you’re sitting on the mine. You may be tempted to shop around for the highest lease rate, but beware! The solar power purchase agreements issued by the utilities are often awarded by a competitive bid. If the land lease rate is too high, then the project cost increases. This will then require the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) rate to be higher and bump the project out of contention.

Legitimate developers will recognize this and limit the rate they’ll pay. But often, it’s the smaller developers who will pay whatever it takes to tie the project up, only to have it sit on the sidelines when the awards are announced. The best way to get around this is to do your research on the developer. And just like with any company, a successful track record is usually the best indicator.

As a landowner, it can be difficult to navigate and decipher a developer’s intention and reputation. This difficulty is only exemplified as the solar market continues to heat up and landowners are receiving multiple pieces of outreach from multiple sources. That’s where Scout Land Consultants comes in.

Our team is dedicated to identifying sites for solar projects and helping secure land agreements with the country’s top solar developers. We act as an intermediary between developers and landowners to the benefit of, not only the parties involved, but also the community and environment as well. If you’re a landowner interested in having your property evaluated for solar or looking for the perfect buyer, please contact us for a complimentary site evaluation.

Back to Basics: How a Solar Farm Works

Solar energy is a plentiful and abundant resource that has enormous potential for the future. Solar makes up a relatively small portion of the overall energy production in the United States, but that’s rapidly changing. Using solar energy allows individuals and business owners to save money on electricity while also reducing their carbon footprint. What’s more, solar power is a clean, renewable resource as well as the most readily available energy source.

With those being the benefits, why isn’t it more widely used? The answer is at least partially due to the inconsistency of solar power and the lack of storage. Let’s look at the basics of solar energy, along with the pros and cons.

Solar Energy is Efficient & Eco-Friendly

Solar energy is created by the sun at an impressive rate. Research from the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that enough sunlight hits the surface of the earth every 90 minutes to power the entire world’s energy needs for a year. Among renewable resources, solar energy is probably the most efficient.

Solar energy is much more environmentally friendly than traditional methods for generating electricity. If you’re a landowner, allowing your property to house a solar project may be an environmentally friendly and practical way to gain a new revenue stream.

Here’s How It Works

A developer acquires a site lease on a property, builds a solar project, and establishes a long-term contract to sell the power back to the local utility. During the operating term of the project, which is typically anywhere from 25 to 40 years, the landowner is paid a fixed rent. It usually takes between 18 to 24 months from the time the site lease is signed to the time the solar system is operational.

This situation is beneficial to the landowner because it provides a long-term fixed income and costs the landowner nothing. What’s more, during the lease period, you as a landowner can use your property however you wish, even continuing to farm under certain conditions.

Would Solar Be A Good Fit for Your Property?

A site typically needs to be flat, clear, and dry to become a solar farm. That’s not all there is to it, though. Solar farms can range from as small as five acres up to more than 1,000 acres. It takes four to eight acres of suitable land to generate one megawatt of power, and while some community solar projects only require one megawatt, most developers are working to create solar projects of ten megawatts or greater, so they often combine several neighboring pieces of land to create a large enough site.

Your property does not have to be completely flat to generate solar power. In fact, if it has a slight slope to the south or the east, that may be beneficial because it increases the sun exposure. Regulations vary from state to state but, in general, a solar farm cannot be constructed within a 100 or 500 year floodplain and cannot contain any wetlands. It must also be conveniently located to the utility’s infrastructure, adjacent to three-phase distribution lines and, ideally, close to a substation. The closer the solar farm is to a substation, the less energy is lost as it travels to that substation.

It can be complicated to get into solar development, but it helps to partner with a company with expertise in the field. Scout Land Consultants helps inform landowners of the potential for their property and connects them with developers that can maximize its value. Acting as mediator between developers and landowners, we work to integrate solar development, benefiting not only those directly involved but also the environment and communities served.

If you’re interested in being a part of this exciting new push toward sustainable energy, contact us for a complimentary site evaluation!

Why are Substations Important?

Solar energy development is gaining ground in the United States, and with good reason. It provides clean energy and reduces the user’s carbon footprint. It makes sense that many landowners would be excited about the idea of using a portion of their property as a solar farm, but there are many factors that come into play in terms of a project’s viability. One of these factors is appropriate substation access.

What are substations, and why are they important?

With any source of electricity, whether a traditional electrical plant or a utility-scale solar system, substations serve an important purpose. While a house needs roughly 120 volts of electricity to operate safely, transmission lines from power plants can carry extremely high voltage. A transmission line may have 34,500-500,000 volts running through it, and if all that power were to flow into one house, the results would be deadly. A substation serves to step up power to high voltages for travel between long distances and steps down the power to a safe voltage for human use at the commercial and residential level.

An electrical substation converts voltage from high to low thresholds, or low to high, which is vital because voltage varies significantly. This type of facility is designed to regulate energy throughout a certain region, sending power back and forth from suppliers to consumers. Solar farms use solar panels to utilize energy from the sun and then take that power and send it out to homes and businesses throughout the area. Many think of it like a switching station that the utility can control.

If you’re trying to develop your property for solar use, you’ll need a substation or transmission lines nearby, depending on the size of your property. When the infrastructure is located far away, a dedicated line, called a generation tie, will have to be constructed, at a cost of about one hundred dollars per foot. Because this cost is paid by the developer, a solar project that is far from a substation is not going to be as appealing as one that’s closer and more cost-effective.

It can be complicated to get into solar development, but it helps to partner with a company with expertise in the field.

Connecting landowners with developers helps both parties make the most of their resources. Acting as a mediator between developers and landowners, Scout Land Consultants works to smoothly and successfully integrate solar development, benefiting not only those directly involved but also the environment.

If you’re interested in being part of this exciting new push toward sustainable energy, contact us today!

Could Solar Power Help Save the World?

Politicians and government officials throughout the developed world have committed to reducing carbon emissions by investing in renewable energy sources. Solar power is one of the most reliable and affordable alternatives, and many countries, including the U.S., are increasing their investment in solar power.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change

Fossil fuels are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions that trap heat and send the earth barreling toward 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial temperatures—the point of no return that could make it impossible to get the climate back to normal.

Fortunately, switching to renewable energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions without asking society to return to the Stone Age. The idea that people could rely primarily on renewable energy is not naively optimistic—it could actually work thanks to the falling costs and skyrocketing installation rates of solar panels.

Falling Solar Prices

According to the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), solar has experienced an average annual growth rate of 33% over the past decade. Solar power generation in the U.S. has grown dramatically, from 0.34 gigawatts (GW) in 2008, to 142.3 GW of total installed capacity in 2022, enough to power 25 million American homes.

A 2022 study compared the fuel, running, and maintenance cost of America’s coal fleet with the building of new solar or wind from scratch in the same utility region. The study found that on average, the marginal cost for the coal plants is $36 each megawatt hour, while new solar is about $24 each megawatt hour, or about a third cheaper.

Skyrocketing Solar Installations

In 2022, 50% of all new electric capacity added to the grid came from solar, the largest such share in history. Power producers have been responding to lower costs with an explosion of solar projects. The U.S. increased its solar power capacity by about 50 percent in just the past two years.

If the exponential growth of solar continues—along with the corresponding phasing out of fossil fuels and accelerated transition to electric vehicles—greenhouse gas emissions could possibly fall at the rates needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Now is the Time to Act

It may feel like no single person can make a difference in the world’s climate, but the good news is that there is a lot we can still do as individuals to change this narrative. Changing the way we consume energy can save money and perhaps even help save the planet. That includes the idea of installing solar on your land.

If you’re a landowner, you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the climate by putting unused acreage to use as a solar farm. Not only can this decision help save the world, but it can add income to your pocket as well. Many solar developers are willing to offer lease fees that far exceed the per-acre earnings from traditional farming and ranching.

For help negotiating and navigating what can be a complex process with potential solar developers, turn to Scout Land Consultants. We have been helping landowners sign fair, profitable solar farm leases since 2014.

Determining your site’s solar suitability is the first step, so contact us today to schedule a complimentary, comprehensive evaluation.

Solar is More Affordable and More Available than Ever

Solar is more affordable, accessible, and prevalent than ever before. According to the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), solar has experienced an average annual growth rate of 33% over the past decade. Solar power generation in the U.S. has grown dramatically, from just 0.34 gigawatts (GW) in 2008 to 142.3 GW of total installed capacity in 2022. That’s enough to power 25 million American homes.

Solar also generates jobs. As of 2021, more than 255,000 Americans work in solar at more than 10,000 companies in every U.S. state. In that same year, the solar industry generated nearly $33 billion of private investment in the American economy.

While these figures sound impressive, solar only accounts for just over three percent of electricity production in the United States. This percentage has been slowly rising for over a decade. Still, analysts have long pointed out that a more robust transition to solar will only happen when this renewable energy source becomes cheaper than traditional fuels. We may be nearing the tipping point, since the cost of installing residential solar has dropped by 50%, even without tax incentives.

Solar-Powered Electricity Costs Less Than Coal

The Guardian reports that a 2022 analysis, “conducted in the wake of the $370 billion in tax credits and other support for clean energy passed by Democrats in last summer’s Inflation Reduction Act, compared the fuel, running and maintenance cost of America’s coal fleet with the building of new solar or wind from scratch in the same utility region. The study found that on average, the marginal cost for the coal plants is $36 each megawatt hour, while new solar is about $24 each megawatt hour, or about a third cheaper.”

How Much Solar Power Does the U.S. Need?

In 2022, 50% of all new electric capacity added to the grid came from solar, the largest such share in history. The White House set out a target of 80% renewable energy generation by 2030 and 100% carbon-free electricity five years later. How much solar power is needed to reach this goal?

Consider that with just 22,000 square miles of land—roughly the same surface area as Lake
Michigan—solar farms could produce enough electricity to power every home and business in the country. Many of the United States’ solar panels are also installed on rooftops with essentially no land-use impacts. An estimated one in seven U.S. homes will have rooftop solar panels by 2030, reducing the land-use requirements for solar farms even further.

Take Advantage of Decreasing Solar Costs

The drastic decline in solar prices over the past few years has increased the demand for solar farms. If you’re a landowner, consider leasing your property to a solar developer. The potential lease fee could far exceed the per-acre earnings from traditional farming and ranching. Plus, solar farms contribute to the renewable energy revolution and help ensure cleaner air and water for future generations.

The abundance and potential of solar power in the U.S. is staggering. Now is the time to get involved! For help negotiating a deal with potential solar developers, turn to Scout Land Consultants. We have been helping landowners sign fair, profitable agreements since 2014.

A complimentary, comprehensive evaluation tells you how suitable your land is for solar development, so contact us today to get started!

Energy Storage Investment Opportunities

Energy storage is not as well known or as often discussed as other forms of renewable energy. However, as the market continues to develop and grow, battery energy storage systems (BESS) are becoming more and more pertinent, proven by recent legislation such as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Consider this your introduction to battery energy storage, providing information on how these systems work, the investment opportunity for landowners, and battery storage’s growing importance and relevance on the market.

Clean Energy & Battery Storage

Three primary types of clean energy are used today: solar, wind, and hydropower. Batteries can be used in conjunction with solar panels, wind turbines, and hydroelectric dams, allowing energy to be stored for a short time, then ultimately pushed onto the power grid at an optimal time rather than becoming wasted energy.

Many people know about this battery storage application in the renewable energy space, however, fewer people are familiar with stand-alone, utility-scale BESS. These installations contain energy banks housed inside shipping containers or similarly-shaped steel structures. Each cluster is connected to a substation to help manage supply and demand for the local electrical grid. The batteries pull power off the grid and store it when energy demand (and therefore, the price) is low. Then, they push power onto the grid based on signals from substations when energy demand is high.

BESS projects are valuable resources that are already acting as worthwhile additions to our country’s electrical grid infrastructure. Here’s how they benefit everyone involved:

  • Customers enjoy more consistent electricity rates as well as seeing the ultimately lower priced energy, given they aren’t paying a rate that accounts for wasted energy.
  • Utilities reduce costly energy losses.
  • The grid becomes more resilient during peak demand because, unlike gas peaker plants that take up to 10 minutes to react, a BESS can respond to changes in energy load or generation in milliseconds.
  • Developers profit by buying energy at a low rate, storing it in the batteries, and selling it to the utility company when power generation capacity is lower than demand.
  • Landowners lease their land to developers with lucrative results.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)

In August of 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act was made into law by President Biden, pushing clean energy initiatives into unprecedented growth. Most agree that this is the most important and largest government legislation concerning clean energy in history. And according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), “Ten years from now, there will be enough solar power installed to power every home east of the Mississippi.” The act “grants, loans, rebates, incentives, and other investments” for the development and use of solar, wind, energy storage systems, and the like, expecting to add over $100 billion to the economy.

How does this apply specifically to battery energy storage systems? First, the act offers tax incentives with the Investment Tax Credit, allowing, as one article explains it, “individuals or businesses to deduct a certain percentage of investment costs from their taxes.” Second, because the federal government is, through this act, injecting roughly $400 billion in this project, the demand for land and developers will continue to grow in number, providing landowners with more opportunities to store the energy harvested from the sun and receive rent payments while doing so. 

Why Landowners Should Invest in Energy Storage Systems

The only way stand-alone battery storage can be constructed in your community is if local landowners get involved. In order to build a BESS project on your land, it must be:

  • Located within extremely close proximity of a substation
  • At least one or two acres in size (most projects can be constructed on ten or fewer acres)
  • Relatively flat and not located in a wetland environment
  • Accessible from a road for construction and maintenance purposes

These prerequisites are much more flexible than those needed to build a solar farm. For instance, because of the low acreage requirements, you have the opportunity to construct a BESS project even if you don’t own hundreds of acres of unused land. Plus, while solar power arrays are typically limited to rural areas, battery storage is common, and more valuable, in urban settings where substations are more numerous. Energy banks can even be installed on an existing foundation, such as a vacant parking lot.

Utility-scale energy storage is such an up-and-coming technology that few states have BESS programs in place for development incentives. This means many landowners will have a chance to participate in the future, even if they miss the window for other energy opportunities.

Leasing land for a BESS installation can prove incredibly lucrative for landowners, especially with the typical long-term lease ranging between 20 to 40 years. And remember, the developer is the one responsible for inspecting and maintaining the system, not the landowner.

How Battery Energy Storage Systems Benefit the Environment

BESS projects are far less invasive than other forms of power generation. In fact, they have the lowest impact of all clean energy sources. Here are the environmental benefits of battery energy storage:

  • No waste products: No fuel is consumed onsite, so every BESS installation has zero emissions. This means nothing harmful leaks into the air or soil, local water sources are preserved, and the batteries don’t give off radiation.
  • Not disruptive to neighbors: Battery banks can be easily hidden by landscaping to provide an unobtrusive installation. They also make limited noise, think sounds equivalent to a residential HVAC unit, and have no moving parts. These qualities ensure the project does not disturb neighbors on adjacent properties.
  • Low land impact: Once the system has completed its lifecycle, or you choose not to renew your lease when the contract expires, the installation is easily removed. Much of the equipment is recycled, and the land returns to its original condition.

Learn More about Investing in Energy Storage Solutions

If you have unused land that meets the basic requirements for a BESS project, you have a great chance of finding an interested energy developer. However, this does not mean you should sign on the dotted line with the first company that comes knocking.

For a deeper dive into battery energy storage systems, consider exploring a recent interview featuring our VP of Land Acquisition, Clark Merritt. In this interview, Clark provides comprehensive insights into battery energy storage systems and ways to engage further.

Scout Land Consultants can help you negotiate a profitable energy storage deal that will benefit you and your family for decades to come.

Determining your land’s suitability is the first step, so contact us today to request a complimentary, comprehensive evaluation of your property.

How Much Land is Needed to Build a Solar Farm?

If you are like most landowners, the idea of solar development is somewhat new and you probably have some common questions about how the development process works. You’re not alone in this, because one of the most frequently asked questions is, “How much land is needed to build a solar farm?”

What Are My Options?

Most people either envision solar panels on their roof – which may consist of a handful of panels – or the giant solar farms you can spot from an airplane flying over Arizona. This really is part of the beauty of solar energy – it’s a modular system that can be built as large or small as needed to fit the energy need of that area. In the first case, a single house – in the latter case, an entire town.

You may be curious because you own land you believe could qualify for a solar project and are in an area that is experiencing an uptick of development activity. Both of these are most likely related to what the industry calls “utility-scale” solar development – which basically means that the energy is sold back to the local utility and then distributed to the energy customers in the area. These are the types of projects that private developers are seeking to lease land for projects.

Now, there are typically two different size projects: Transmission-Scale and Distributed Generation (DG).


The Transmission-Scale projects are the larger of the two and typically require a minimum of 150 useable acres up to 600 acres or more. These projects connect to transmission lines (high-tension power lines) and need to be large because there are significant costs associated with connecting to the powerlines and the project needs to be large enough to find the efficiencies of scale (remember that one from economics class?).

Distributed Generation

The DG projects are much smaller – ranging from 10 to 50 useable acres. Most of these will tend to be on the smaller side of the scale and tie into the smaller power lines (3 phase or “distribution lines”).

What is a "useable" acre?

We mention the term “useable” acres because it’s important to know that land covered by wetlands, excessive floodplain, heavy slope or other uses that make the property un-useable for solar cannot be built upon.

Local Regulations & Restrictions

Finally, and most importantly, the utility-scale solar development industry on a state level is dictated by regulation and subsidized programs. It’s the reason that one area could be booming and, in another area just over the state lines, there is nothing happening. These programs often specify which types of projects will qualify – either DG or Transmission-Scale. So, depending on your area, the only viable project may be one or the other.

If you would like to learn more about the solar activity in your area, please feel free to contact us and we’ll perform a complimentary review of your property.