If an energy company has approached you to lease part of your land for a solar energy array, you could be part of a vast trend. According to the solar industry, the United States now boasts over 100 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity.
That includes a bit more than 5 gigawatts of capacity added in just the first three months of 2021 – a record first quarter. That’s 46% higher than in the first quarter of 2020. And, solar accounted for “58% of all new electricity-generating capacity added” in the U.S. during the first quarter. Most of the remaining added capacity was made up by wind power.
A great deal of that 5 gigawatts added in the first quarter – 1.52 – was added in Texas. That beats California and Florida, which added 563 and 525 megawatts of capacity, respectively.
That said, we’re still catching up to the European Union, which has already installed over 137 gigawatts of solar capacity. Note that capacity refers to the maximum amount of energy that the installations could produce, not necessarily what they’re producing now.
We have a long way to go if renewable energy is to produce as much energy as fossil fuels. Fossil fuels – primarily natural gas and coal – made up 40.3% and 19.3%, respectively, of utility-scale electricity generation in the U.S. in 2020.
Renewables, by contrast, only accounted for 19.9% of utility-scale electricity generation in 2020. Solar (photovoltaic) accounted for just 2.2%, according to preliminary figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Supply concerns are slowing down new growth in solar
COVID-19 and the related supply problems are slowing down the solar trend. For one thing, solar power requires microchips, and there has been a shortage in semiconductor materials. Additionally, shipping costs have risen dramatically, increasing commodity prices. There have been delays, and some installers have had to renegotiate contracts as prices rise quickly.
Many companies, however, continue to buy and lease land in Central and West Texas to build new solar arrays. Demand remains extremely high for renewable energy sources.
Approached for a solar lease on your property? Get legal support.
If a solar energy company has come to your door seeking to lease or buy your land for a photovoltaic array, you may have a lucrative opportunity on your hands.
Don’t just accept the proposal as written. Have an energy law attorney read over the proposed lease or purchase agreement and tell you whether what the company is offering is standard. There may be things you would like to add to the lease or purchase agreement to protect your rights in the long term.