Will it Work on My Land: Solar Energy and the Future of Farming in the Mohawk Valley
March 7th, 2020, Herkimer Community College
New York State has passed some of the most ambitious renewable energy goals in the nation. Under Governor Andrew Cuomo the state has committed to an 85% reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2050 and to sourcing 100% of its electricity from clean sources by the year 2040. The state’s plan is to help consumers make more informed energy choices, develop new energy products and services while protecting the environment.
In order to do this companies are investing in new large scale renewable energy facilities throughout upstate New York. Herkimer county is right in the middle of one of the most desirable locations for these facilities due to its proximity to power transmission lines crossing the state.
Farmers and landowners are being solicited to lease their property by solar developers. Potentially this can create a sustained income stream for property owners to help support the land ownership costs.
Solar leases are long term commitments, usually running 20 years with another 20 renewable that will take up many acres of land. A workshop for land owners was held on March 7th, 2020 at Herkimer Community College. Sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension – Herkimer County, Mohawk Valley Economic Development District, Otsego County Conservation Association and the College it brought together experts in the fields of land use, economics, legal concerns and solar grazing to present the latest information for landowners considering leasing.
Solar workshop presentations:
1. New York’s Solar Electricity Goals and Agriculture, David Kay, Cornell University
Here are some additional resources on solar leasing:
Cornell Cooperative Extension – Sullivan County
Solar Leasing Q & A
Cornell Cooperative Extension – Capital Area Agricultural & Horticultural Program
Issues with Solar Leases
New York Farm Bureau:
Leasing Your Farmland for Wind & Solar Energy Development
New York State Energy Development Authority:
Solar Leasing Fact Sheet & Solar Guide Book
Solar Energy Industry Association:
Land Leases for Solar