How to Lease Land for a Solar Project

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Clean alternative energy sources are being sought to replace the fossil fuels that have contaminated the air and water. Solar power is one of the most feasible of these alternative power sources. Starting a solar farm requires you to find a suitable piece of land. The purchase price of land is far higher than many start-up solar companies can afford. Leasing public land is a more realistic alternative. This land is controlled by the United States Bureau of Land Management.

  • Find business partners who share your vision for solar power production. Choose people with proven business and financial records who have experience in the solar power field. Hire an attorney to set up a corporation focused on solar power. Assign each member of the group a place on the board of directors.

  • Meet with your partners and draft a detailed business plan. Hire experts in the field that can contribute to the plan and move your corporation forward. Hire an engineer and an architect to design your equipment and building.

  • Hire an attorney and an accountant to work together to take your corporation public. Meet with prospective financial backers and discuss your business plan in detail. Sell shares to get funding to move the project forward.

  • Choose a piece of public land that fits the scope of your project. Submit a Right-of-Way application to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Request a lease for the proposed property. Submit a copy of your business plan and the drawings of your equipment and facilities along with your application and request.

  • Review the lease with the board of directors with your attorney present. Ask the attorney to read and explain each section of the lease and to answer any questions you or the board may have regarding any part of the document. Sign the multiyear lease and return it to the BLM to finalize the deal.

  • Pay contractors to construct your buildings and equipment. Keep your architect and engineer on the job site daily to monitor the progress of the project. Request weekly reports from the architect and the engineer as well as each of the contractors. Review all the weekly reports with the board of directors so that everyone stays involved.

  • Hire independent experts to conduct inspections and tests of the buildings and facilities before beginning production. Hire staff to man the facilities. Start producing electricity. Require each supervisor to submit weekly reports to the facility manager. Require the manager to submit weekly reports to the board of directors.

  • Start production slowly following the incremental plan set forth in your BLM lease. This five-year program calls for 20 percent production the first year with a 20 percent increase each year thereafter until full scale production is reached. Pay the yearly Megawatt Capacity fee to the BLM according to your production.

Tips & Warnings

  • Attorneys, engineers, architects and other professionals are required for each step of this process. Hire the appropriate professional to fill every role to ensure the safety, success and profitability of your solar project.

References

  • Photo Credit Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images
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