In fact, solar energy has the potential to power 40% of the nation’s electricity by 2035, the U.S. Department of Energy reported in September 2021. The DOE also called solar “our cheapest and fastest-growing source of clean energy.” It’s no surprise, then, that interest in developing solar farms is skyrocketing in states with abundant sunshine, significant agricultural land, mandates for renewable energy, and incentives for renewable development.
Onshore wind energy in the U.S. grew at a record pace in 2020, the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy said. Wind provides more than 10% of electricity in 16 states, and over 30% in Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota and North Dakota.
Both renewable energy sources are gaining ground as state and federal policies pursue aggressive climate-change goals and a greener power grid.
The additional income from wind and solar leases can bolster an industry that often struggles with insufficient and inconsistent commodity prices. It can allow farmers and ranchers to liquidate debt. It yields money that is invested in equipment, technology, land expansion, or other needs, including buying out a family member or business partner.
Moreover, wind and solar leases typically work under contracts of 30 years or more, offering long-term income spanning multiple generations. And such projects appeal to the technology-loving next generation. Wind and solar projects offer farmers and ranchers much-needed revenue diversification, just as mineral rights, biofuel production, and habitat preservation ventures do. But these fast-growing renewable-energy opportunities also pose challenges for the ag community.
Click here to contact a KCoe land and renewable energy strategist to discuss secure and legitimate options for your land.