USDA-funded study on the impact of solar farms

Research is underway to study the impact on farmers who lease their land for solar production.

The study is a three-year project with the University of Maryland, Cornell, and Oklahoma State. Paul Goeringer with Maryland Extension explains what they are working on.

“We’re trying to take into account differing, varying legal restrictions and then taking into account sort of what are the diversity in the legal issues we’re seeing from the contract being presented to landowners in the three separate states, because we’re all in different stages of solar development,” Goeringer states. “Then taking into account, if we’re taking farmland out of production, what are the economic implications to not only the landowner, the producers, but also to rural communities who may see less need for people going in to buy services.”

Researchers will also look at the type of payment structure a land owner could receive through solar leasing. “Usually we’re looking at either they’re going to get paid per acre of it may be a royalty payment coming off based off the production,” he adds.

The study is a USDA-funded project through the Agriculture and Food Research Institute that was awarded to Maryland Extension back in February.

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