Research

Our team is working to develop an understanding of the current legal landscape, economic, and community factors relating to utility-scale solar development.  We will share research-based information and training on legal issues, community and environmental concerns, and train stakeholders, farmers, landowners, Extension, state officials, and legal professionals on best practices for utility-scale solar development. 

Young 6 year old blonde girl child standing in front of small solar panel farm in countryside. Photo Credit: FotoHelin

Community Factors

Rural communities and landowners are increasingly faced with questions about land leasing for renewable energy production. Long-term implications can exist for landowners and communities if the agreements are not well understood from the start.

Legal Landscape

Communities need to be aware of the ways energy leases signed by local landowners with solar firms are likely to have significant impacts beyond their immediate administrative, permitting, and taxation interests, with potential impact on regional farming, agricultural service, and other agricultural supply chain businesses, as well as on the advent of new business and employment opportunities in the solar industry.  

Man and woman in white hard hats holding blueprints next to solar panels. Photo Credit: Mark Agnor
Hand with red nails putting a coin in a white piggy bank with solar panels and grass in the background. Photo Credit: Sergei Domashenko

Economic Factors

There is potential for solar projects to generate needed additional revenue for farm and ranch families through increasing landowners buying power from new income, and to create additional employment opportunities in rural communities for landowners from jobs affiliated with solar energy development.