FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – LANDOWNERS
What will a solar farm look like?
A solar farm will include solar panels mounted on steel piles in rows, several inverters on concrete pads or large steel piles, a substation, and transmission line to a nearby utility transmission line. The solar panels and inverter equipment are typically less than 10 feet in height, and the panels will usually rotate to follow the sun from east to west throughout the day. The substation and transmission line look like the electrical stations and lines you see every day. Roads will allow maintenance and emergency vehicles to access all parts of the solar farm.
How will you keep animals out of the solar farm?
A fence will be built around all the equipment that is part of the farm. The fence can include precautions necessary to keep out livestock or wild animals that could be hurt by or damage the equipment.
Why should I lease my land to Enyo Renewable Energy for a wind or solar power project?
When a landowner leases a parcel of property for a renewable project, you have a guaranteed source of income during project development and every year after the project goes on line, for 20 years or longer. For many of our landowner partners, the annual lease payments mean ranches and farms can now be passed on to the fourth and fifth generations of the family.
Enyo Renewable Energy values our landowners and will collaborate with you on the specifics of how you use your land in order to build in safeguards that protect it. We recognize that land is a precious commodity and have taken time to develop a lease and a landowner relations process that protects landowner interests and ensures landowners receive a fair stream of income from the project. We work hard to establish open and honest relationships with landowners and all members of the community, and to communicate clearly and frequently, from beginning to end.
What is the impact of having solar on my land?
A: Because solar panels are mounted on steel piles driven into the ground, the disturbance to the host’s land is minimal. Native plants will grow under the panels and around the equipment, and little water is used once the plant is in operation. When the solar farm stops operating, the land will be returned to its original condition. Hosting solar can be a way to rest low-producing agricultural land while still receiving some economic benefit.
Will people be coming and going from my land?
The solar farm will have a dedicated access road and fencing surrounding the project during construction and operation, and only qualified personnel will be authorized to enter the project area. Construction and permanent employees will not enter or disturb land that is not dedicated to the solar farm.
Are other land uses possible while solar is on my land?
Your property outside the footprint of the solar farm will not be impacted by solar, and land uses that do not disturb the equipment producing power can continue within the solar farm. For example, landowners can graze sheep under solar panels. Solar farms in Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and California graze sheep under the panels, reducing the cost of mowing vegetation that might otherwise block the sun from reaching solar panels. In the UK, the National Farmers’ Union and BRE National Solar Centre published guidelines for how to integrate solar with traditional agriculture. Enyo wants to work with you on the right solar facility on your land.
Can I use the power generated by the solar farm for my home, farm, or shop?
Enyo Renewable Energy collaborates with landowners to find the best project for your land. We are open to working with you to provide solar facilities for your use in addition to a utility solar farm.
What happens during the solar farm’s operation?
Mowing vegetation around the panels and cleaning panels may occur several times per year, and preventative maintenance on the electrical equipment typically occurs once per year. The solar farm will have a dedicated access road and fence surrounding the property so in the case of planned or unplanned maintenance, landowners will not be disturbed.
What happens to my land when the solar farm’s operational life is complete?
Because the solar farm only minimally disturbs the host land, the land can be returned to its native condition once the plant has completed its operational life. Enyo will remove all equipment with no permanent damage to the land.
How many renewable power projects does your company operate?
The partners who formed Enyo Renewable Energy have invested more than $500 million in wind and solar projects, including investment in 10% of the wind projects currently operating in the U.S. This team has supported 6.2 GW of operating projects with another 2.9 GW to come online by the end of 2016 and over 5 GW in development. We have identified sites with excellent wind and solar resources, shepherded projects through land use planning and permitting, arranged financing, and managed construction. Enyo Renewable Energy offers a full suite of renewable energy development expertise.
HOW MUCH WILL I BE PAID AND HOW WILL THE PAYMENTS BE MADE?
First, we assess land to make sure it’s viable for a renewable solar or wind project development. For example, Enyo’s site survey:
establishes how many acres of land will be set aside; solar projects have a different footprint than wind projects
establishes that solar or wind project can access existing power lines
Once we establish the land is suitable, we negotiate an annual acreage payment, paid during project development. The annual lease payment is paid to landowners once the project is complete.
Enyo developers are available to answer your questions and address your concerns. And, we’re happy to refer you to a farmer or rancher who has worked with us to learn about this important part of the process.
HOW MUCH LAND IS NEEDED FOR A RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECT?
Each megawatt of renewable solar energy requires eight to ten acres of land for solar panels. An industrial-scale solar energy project typically requires 300 to 1000 acres of land.
50-75 acres of land are needed per turbine. Generally about 1% of the total project area is used for turbines, and approximately 2-5% of the total project area is used for all wind facility structures, including access roads.
CAN I STILL HUNT AND FISH ON MY LAND?
The land for solar renewable energy projects is used exclusively for generating solar energy. We take that into account in negotiating your lease agreement, so that you are fairly and properly compensated.
All the land adjacent to the solar array is available and safe to use as you always have.
Because wind turbines don’t need much land, you’ll do much of what you’ve always done, farming and ranching, or for recreation, fishing, hunting or four-wheeling.
There are some specific conditions that every landowner may have, and we’ll find the answers and work with you. Your lease insures that you have the right to manage the land as you see fit.
When the renewable energy project has run its course, your contract insures that structures will be removed at no cost to you.
ARE WIND TURBINES NOISY?
New wind turbine designs and advances in technology have mostly eliminated the noise from spinning wind turbines. The sound generated by a modern wind turbine placed about a thousand feet away is as quiet as the reading room of a library.
OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WILL CONSTRUCTION OF THE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECT INCREASE TRAFFIC?
Like any large construction project, building a renewable energy wind or solar projects puts big trucks and heavy equipment on roads in your community.
Prior to construction, we work out logistics with project engineers and contractors to minimize traffic congestion with engineering and construction firms. And we’re in frequent communication with local government and media so you know what to expect.
WILL I SEE THE SOLAR PANELS OR WIND TURBINES?
There’s no question that a solar array or a line of wind turbines will change the look of the landscape. We’ve heard from landowners and citizens that they enjoy watching the turbines spin. Of course, there will always be folks who don’t like the look of wind turbine.
That said, all of us need electricity and we use it all day, every day. Perhaps the pioneers or the Native Americans of the 1800’s would not have liked to see giant power lines running across the desert or through a mountain pass.
In the 20th century, electrical power changed everything about the way we live, work and play. Over the decades, power lines and transmission stations have become part of the view and now we hardly notice them.
In the 21st century, major advances in technology have made solar energy competitive and in some cases much cheaper than other energy sources. Consumers and corporations demand that America change to using sources of clean renewable energy.
There’s no question that clean renewable energy is here to stay.
Before we build any solar or wind project, we always create visual simulation demonstrations so you can see what your community will look like when the project is complete. We welcome suggestions, your questions and will address your concerns in these public forums.
THE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECT WON’T BE BUILT ON MY PROPERTY. HOW WILL THIS BENEFIT ME?
Solar and wind projects pay taxes. In some small, rural communities, the tax revenue from a renewable energy project is sometimes the single largest source of revenue. It goes to local schools, or to build or improve roads.
You benefit in another way. Landowners in your community receive annual lease payments, and in turn they reinvest the money improving their land. Some of that income flows into restaurants, retail shops and small businesses in your community.
Finally, we all benefit from renewable energy projects because they don’t pollute the air or drain precious water resources.
WHAT IMPACT DO RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS HAVE ON WILDLIFE?
Enyo Renewable Energy works closely with state and federal wildlife agencies and environmental consultants and organizations to minimize impacts on wildlife and habitat.
Wind turbines kill a tiny number of birds a year. The total number of human-caused bird deaths a year is around 1%, the birds are killed by hunters, house cats, buildings, cars, airplanes and now drones.
Wind project impact on large species is still under study, we often see large animals - cows, antelope and deer, peacefully co-existing with wind turbines.