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What are the financial benefits as a landowner?

  • Landowners can expect to receive higher lease payments than from either unproductive land or even higher value agricultural land.

Are there any upfront costs?

There are no upfront costs in leasing your land for a solar project.

How can my community and business participate?

Communities and businesses can participate in solar projects by leasing land.  Additionally, community members may also elect to participate in purchasing electricity from their local solar facility at a discount to their normal electricity bill.

What happens to my property taxes?

Any increase in property tax caused by the installation of the solar project will be paid for by the project and stipulated as such in the lease. 

What happens at the end of my lease? Will I be able to farm this land again?

The project will be removed/decommissioned and the ground returned to the same conditions prior to the installation of the solar facility as if it were in Conservation Resource Program (CRP).  This will be paid for by the project at no cost to the landowner.  After this, the landowner is free to farm the land again. 

Does the system make sound?

Community or utility scale solar operations are considered a very quiet neighbor. Aside from the solar panels on site, the facilities have some other installed equipment that is involved in converting the DC energy produced by the panels to AC energy that is transported to the electrical grid.  On the decibel spectrum it would measure in the 50-60 decibel level, which is equivalent to listening to two people having a conversation from about a 30 foot distance away.

Do the panels create glare?

Due to advancements in technology over the last decade, utility and community scale solar operations utilize tracker technology exclusively which further reduces any chances of glare occurring. Each panel row has built in sensor technology that follow the Sun as it traverses from sunrise in the East to sunset in the West, so the panels are always in perfect alignment with the Sun’s rays, thereby virtually eliminating the potential for any glare angles. Additionally, some interesting facts to support the non-glare posture would be the following:

  1. Solar technology is designed by its very nature to absorb light, not reflect
  2. All solar panels manufactured today have a non-glare film application applied to further reduce the potential for glare
  3. In the United States there are approximately 40 international or regional airports that currently have operational solar facilities either on the airport grounds, buildings, or on adjacent land. You can rest assured that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has conducted stringent testing at these airport facilities to guarantee that pilots are able to safely navigate take off and landings to insure maximum safety for the aircraft and their passengers

Will prime farmland be lost?

The land used for the project is given an opportunity to regenerate in health similar to any land designated for the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The CRP provides substantial conservation benefits to land by protecting highly erodible soils, improving water quality, enhancing wildlife populations, providing pollinator forage habitat, and sequestering carbon in soil and enhancing soil productivity. When the solar panels are removed, the soil conditions should be much improved compared to the condition of the land when the panels were first installed.

How much activity from workers and vehicles can be expected once the site is operational?

Operations and Maintenance on solar facilities is generally pretty minimal.  Depending on where in the country the site is, landowners can expect O&M professionals to visit the site to trim weeds/cut grass/remove snow if there is shading on the panels and repair any item that may be affecting the solar production.  

Is there stray voltage from the solar array affecting Livestock?

No.  Stray voltage is a phenomenon of single phase electrification from homes and buildings, which is a result of a short in the grounding that allows stray voltage to get into the ground.  These solar projects run on three phase electrification systems.  

Do solar arrays cause soil erosion?

No. Any erosion to the soil is due to the amount of rainfall on the project footprint.  There are requirements at the state, local, and federal level that must be met when the project is being designed to prevent any erosion issues.  

Will the solar array be an eyesore?

SolarStone takes community engagement and concerns around viewshed very seriously.  These concerns are generally discussed with the community early on in the process.  Typically however, SolarStone will screen the area we are building on and design intelligently with this in mind, so that there is limited to no impact on someone’s view.

Are the solar panels dangerous for kids and people?

The solar projects are fenced in and present no danger to kids or people.  

What do you do to mitigate the issue of weeds?

Grasses are planted that provide flora and fauna habitat which mitigates weeds. Additionally, the grass is mowed several times a year and obnoxious weeds that make it around the project footprint are removed, abiding by all local/county ordinances pertaining to weed maintenance.

Can hail damage the panels?

Solar panels are quite robust in their design.  If there was potential for hail however, operations and maintenance personnel are alerted by the weather forecast, and they would turn the panels in such a way that any damage from hail would be mitigated.

Can tornadoes or winds blow off panels and damage neighbors?

Panels are designed to very high wind standards.  In areas of known high wind speed, engineers will further account for this in the design of the system.

Will this cause electrical issues to the grid?

Quite the contrary. Solar projects actually require that the interconnection point and transmission and distribution lines are enhanced to allow those projects to put power on the grid, thus making the transmission and distribution system more robust.

Will the panels lower property values nearby?

No. There have been numerous properties around the country that have been analyzed from a sale price versus an assessed value perspective once a solar project was sited on or near the property. The results indicate that there is minimal to no impact of property values.