With the Department of Energy’s plan to make solar 45% of the country’s energy portfolio by 2050, the nation needs to rapidly step up solar energy generation. Innovative approaches that locate solar projects on potentially contaminated sites, also called brownfields, will help the United States reach these important clean energy goals. It also allows for the continued preservation of undeveloped land for other forms of commercial development, housing, agriculture and/or conservation.
Encore Renewable Energy is excited to provide Connecticut brownfield owners and municipalities a new opportunity to participate in the clean energy future. By leasing land for new solar farms, landowners can collect guaranteed rent for the next 25+ years, while also helping to address climate change by enabling cleaner energy deployment.
Is your brownfield solar-friendly?
Many brownfields have excellent southern exposure, access to robust electrical infrastructure and limited redevelopment options, making solar development a great choice! We are looking for capped or active landfills, previously developed parcels, or other brownfields with access to 3-phase electrical distribution lines. In terms of property size, a minimum parcel size 15 acres can be viable though 25+ acres is preferred. Our initial interest is in potential solar sites in Eversource service territory, but we’ll eventually be developing projects in UI service area and other municipal electric cooperatives too. These community-scale solar projects are designed to provide a steady, long-term income for the brownfield owner and clean, renewable energy for the surrounding community.
Each project is custom designed for the unique conditions at the existing site and is surrounded by a six-foot fence as required by the National Electric Code. A typical installation will provide approximately 4,000 megawatt hours per year, enough energy to power an estimated 400 homes.
What tax incentives or financing are available to potential brownfields?
There are both federal and state incentives for site assessment, permitting and redevelopment of potential brownfields as well as grants, loans, renewable energy credits and tax rebates. Our expertise and experience navigating this complexity enables us to take advantage of these policies to provide value to the brownfield owner and surrounding community.
What are the benefits of hosting a solar project on your brownfield?
As the landowner, you will incur zero costs and will collect income over the duration of your lease. Encore handles all maintenance, pays taxes on the project, and provides you with regular lease payments for hosting the project. You won’t need to worry about construction or permitting. Once the project is complete, your land will be providing clean, homegrown electricity for your local community.
What are the liabilities of hosting a solar project on your brownfield?
As the owner of a brownfield, having Encore lease your land for a solar project will create no new liabilities for you. Both the landowner and the project owner are indemnified from existing environmental liabilities through the use of environmental insurance policies that are paid for by the project owner and that address both the construction and long term operational aspects of the project. For certain applications, Encore’s established brownfield construction methods can also entail minimizing (and in some cases eliminating altogether) ground penetrations. Special ballasted foundations are used instead of traditional driven piles, and wiring can be placed in protective above-ground conduit to avoid the need for trenching.
With the May deadline for project applications fast approaching, we encourage you to reach out today with any questions. More information, including some frequently asked questions can be found on our landowners’ page.