At a time when more land is being turned into high-rise condos and shopping centers, some landowners hosting solar farms decide to “bank their land” by turning it back into agricultural acreage once their solar lease expires.
That’s great news for Wisconsin and promises a strong future for our ag industry. Agriculture contributes 104.8 billion to Wisconsin’s annual economy.
Land banking is a win-win situation.
When a landowner signs a lease to host an Alliant Energy solar project, we construct a large array of solar panels on their land. During the lease period, the soil remains perpetually healthy through various conservation efforts by Alliant Energy. When the lease ends – typically 25 to 40 years later – and we remove the panels, the land is once again ready for agricultural use.
The landowner or farmer helps the environment in many ways:
- Practicing environmental stewardship by hosting solar energy generation on their land. This cost-effective energy source eliminates carbon emissions and excessive water used in traditional energy generation sources.
- Using the land for crop production, livestock grazing or species habitat once we remove the solar installation.
- Improving water quality and local waterways—water and soil conservation practices improve the land around an Alliant Energy solar facility. These practices prevent soil erosion and revitalize the land for future agriculture. With no crops that require fertilizers and chemicals on the land, the waterways are cleaner, too.
Lease payments provide a steady stream of income for the landowner, that does not depend on the ebb and flow of commodity markets. Leasing land for solar helps local economies and jobs and allows landowners an opportunity to diversity their farming operations.
Farming has strong roots across the state, and the power of renewable sources such as solar yield a great deal of positive effects. By accelerating the conversion to cleaner energy sources through our Clean Energy Blueprint, Alliant Energy will help strengthen agriculture, a key economic and community pillar of Wisconsin.