How large are the solar energy facilities?
LAM Development builds solar farms that are 2 megawatts (MW) in size. For perspective, 1 MW can power between 250 to 300 average sized homes.
How much land is needed for a 2 megawatt solar energy facility ?
Typically, LAM Development utilizes 15-20 acres for each 2 MW solar farm.
Does LAM Development both lease and buy land?
Yes. We buy and lease land.
What happens to the power produced by the solar energy facilities?
The electricity created by a solar energy facility is sold directly to customers at a price below the current utility rate. LAM Development sells electricity to municipalities, businesses, and residents in the utility grid within which the system is located.
Do solar energy facilities make noise?
No. Advancements in solar technology have made solar panels extremely quiet, and they will not be heard beyond the fenced perimeter of the solar farm.
What about a solar energy facility's effect on the local aesthetic?
LAM Development works closely with landowners and local communities to ensure all concerns regarding the appearance of a solar energy facility are addressed. In addition to fencing in the panel area, we landscape the solar farm to make this green energy source even greener.
How long does it take to build a solar energy facility?
After a land lease or land purchase agreement is signed, LAM Development must conduct a period of due diligence. This includes obtain permitting for the solar facility. From start to finish the process will usually take between 12 and 16 months.
Who is responsible for obtaining permits and paying municipal fees?
LAM Development is responsible for obtaining all permits, completing all applications, and paying permitting fees.
What are the environmental impacts of a solar energy facility?
Solar panels provide clean electricity and do not release carbon or toxic emissions as they produce power. LAM Development only uses panels that are safe for the local environment and hardware that does not leak dangerous chemicals. During the planning and construction process, we work to mitigate disruption of local habitats and reduce any effect on local wildlife. That said, most solar energy facilities require a minimal degree of tree and brush clearing to create an open space for the panels.
How long does it take for permits and approvals of the solar energy facility to be completed?
From start to finish, LAM Development expects completion of all permitting and approvals to last a total of 8 to 12 months. Permitting and approvals from the local utility takes between 4 to 6 months. Following completion of the utility permits, LAM Development expects municipal planning board approval to take an additional 4 to 6 months.
How long does physical construction of the solar energy facility take?
Construction of a solar energy facility (installation of the racking system, installation of the panels, etc.) will take 2-4 months to complete.
What is the due diligence period and how long does it last?
The due diligence period is when LAM Development vets a parcel to ensure it is a viable location for solar energy. This period takes place after a lease agreement is signed. We ask for a 16-month due diligence period to vet a parcel, but typically we aim to complete all the necessary steps in 8-10 months.
What about fire risks due to operation of the solar panels?
LAM Development ensures that all solar farms we build are in complete compliance with local, state, and national fire codes. There is no additional fire risk due to presence of the solar panels.
What is a solar energy facility?
A solar farm is a collection of solar panels that produce energy by capturing the sun’s rays. The solar panels are mounted on a racking system that holds them off the ground. Each panel is between 5-15 feet tall and they are set in rows at an optimal angle to collect sunlight. The solar panels create direct current (DC) power. This power is converted by an inverter into alternating (AC) power. This AC power is then fed into the electric grid to supply local municipalities, businesses, and residences with electricity.
LAND LEASE QUESTIONS
What if the solar panels are damaged?
LAM Development has insurance in case any damage occurs to the solar farm. LAM Development is 100% responsible for repairing any damage.
What if the property where the solar energy facility is located is sold?
In the event of a sale of the leased land, the lease and all included terms are transferred to the new owner. The new owner would receive all payments for lease of the land.
When is a lease signed?
A lease is signed once the landowner feels comfortable to move forward with the development process and have LAM Development begin vetting their parcel. LAM Development requires a signed lease before starting the due diligence period for two reasons: (i) a significant amount of money is invested into vetting a parcel and LAM Development needs assurance we will be able to build on a viable property we invest in; (ii) New York law requires proof of land control to obtain permits necessary for development of a solar farm.
Under a lease agreement, will the landowner be able to review the solar energy facility design plans before construction?
Yes. LAM Development works closely with the landowner to make sure the facility designs are agreeable. There will be multiple opportunities for the landowner to review the plans and provide input.
How long is a solar land lease with LAM Development?
Typically, a lease is 20-years with two 5-year extensions.
What happens after termination of the lease?
After the lease expires, LAM Development will decommission the solar energy facility and remove the panels. The land utilized during the lease will be restored back to its original condition.
Who will pay property taxes during the lease period?
LAM Development will pay taxes on the portion of land we lease. For example, if we lease 20 acres of a 40-acre property, LAM Development will pay 50% of property taxes for the entire parcel. In addition, if property taxes increase due to the addition of a solar farm on the property, LAM Development will pay for this increase.
What if the land is in an agricultural district? Will the agricultural exemption be lost?
LAM Development works with landowners who own land in agricultural districts. Loss of an agricultural exemption will depend on the location of the land, the size of the property, and local laws. If there is a tax penalty due to a loss of an agricultural exemption, LAM Development will pay these costs.
Will a solar energy facility change my property taxes?
Under a lease agreement, LAM Development will pay property taxes on the section of land we lease to build a solar farm. Additionally, if the parcel owner’s taxes increase due to a change in tax status (i.e. loss of an agricultural exemption), LAM Development will pay for the increase.
If I enter a lease with LAM Development, can I use the leased land for other purposes?
Over the term of the lease LAM Development will utilize between 15-20 acres of land for the solar energy facility. If the landowner wishes, they may seek permission from LAM Development to allow grazing by certain livestock within the fenced-in area of the solar facility. Other activities are not allowed to take place within the solar energy facility due to safety concerns. Landowners may use non-leased land (i.e. land not within the fenced-in solar farm but part of the same property) for any purpose they wish.
Under a lease, does the landowner buy all the electricity produced by the solar farm on their property?
No. LAM Development will be providing power to the local area. However, if the property owner wishes, they may purchase electricity from the solar energy facility located on their property.
Who maintains the solar panels?
LAM Development is responsible for all maintenance of the solar panels throughout the lifetime of the solar facility. This includes repair, cleaning, and regular maintenance.