Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation (WFBF) Chief Administrative Officer Bradley Uken interviews U.W.-Madison Division of Extension’s Karl Green, Local Government Education Program Manager, and Bill Oemichen, Professor of Practice – Law, on the opportunities and risks from leasing farmland to solar developers. The wide-ranging interview focuses on why solar energy facility developers are rapidly increasing their demand for farmland; the significant economic gain for farmers and other rural landowners entering a long-term solar lease; why lease research should be done up front before entering negotiations; and the key considerations, including risks, for landowners when considering a solar lease.
The development of solar arrays across Wisconsin for electric generation is expanding as interest grows in solar as a renewable energy resource. Solar developers prefer level sites free of trees, buildings, and other obstructions to the sun, and land located near roads and needed power transmission facilities, including three-phase transmission hubs and power substations. In many instances, agricultural land fits many of these qualifications. Wisconsin has 14.2 million acres of farmland, making our state attractive to solar developers.
The factsheet provides important items to think about before negotiating with a solar developer.
Find more resources to help landowners explore solar leases on agricultural land from the UW-Extension Farm Management Program here.