For your convenience, we have installed the link below to make donations to this website easier. Now you can utilize your PayPal account or your credit card.
Our Primary Pages
Click on the logo above to visit the website for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County
Column: County Attorney Steven Getman
Leasing your land for solar power? Know your rights before you sign.
By Steven J. Getman
ALBANY, July 2, 2021 --Solar power can offer New Yorkers many potential benefits, including saving money through reduced electricity bills, creating stability during periods of electric rate changes and contributing to a cleaner and healthier community by reducing our carbon footprint. With more and more state residents considering solar power, a number of private companies are looking to develop and initiate construction of new solar projects across the state, including in Schuyler County.
Recently, a number of Schuyler County landowners have reported receiving proposals from one or more energy firms, seeking land for solar facility development. These proposals offer landowners money for an option to lease or purchase land to develop, build and operate a solar power generation and storage facility on the premises. Payments may include an option signing bonus, annual option payments and potential annual lease payments. In some cases, payments may net landowners thousands of dollars.
While the terms of these options may seem very attractive, these agreements are legal documents with potential long-term implications, potentially both positive and negative. Therefore, you should proceed carefully before signing them.
An option is an exclusive privilege to lease, sell or to buy certain property at a specific price and within a stipulated time. It often takes the form of a “right of first refusal.” If the option is supported by some type of consideration, such as a cash payment or promise to pay, it becomes an irrevocable and enforceable contract for the specified time period. A lease in this case is a legal document or contract between a landowner (lessor) and a company or individual (lessee) granting that lessee development and construction rights to the landowner’s property.
Companies will often present the landowner with a preprinted or standard option agreement, followed by a standard lease. Before signing the option and/or any subsequent lease, you should carefully consider various issues, including:
Like most municipalities in New York, Schuyler County does not regulate private agreements between landowners and solar energy operators. Therefore, property owners should review any documentation very carefully and consult an experienced attorney before signing any type of agreement. Your attorney may advise you to negotiate changes to meet your needs and protect your interests before you sign it. Make sure to have your lawyer get all promises and conditions in writing.
If you do not have an attorney, the New York State Bar Association may be able to refer you to an appropriate attorney via the NYSBA Lawyer Referral and Information Service: https://www.findalawyernys.org.
Leasing and real estate options for solar energy can provide you with revenue, but you should also make sure your interests and property are protected. Proceed carefully, consult a trusted attorney and, when possible, earn money while helping to promote renewable energy.
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869