Meeting to address farmers, solar energy

ESCANABA — Since the first part of the year, solar companies have been actively contacting farm owners in an effort to secure land for solar energy projects. This is in response to the Michigan Public Service Commission raising the avoided cost of electricity to 9.5 cents per kWh.

In an effort to help farmers understand the renewable energy landscape, nuances of solar leases, zoning considerations and accompanying tax implications, MSU Extension, Michigan Farm Bureau and the Michigan Energy Office are teaming up to host programs for farmers at various locations around the state. MSU Extension staff with lease agreement, tax and zoning expertise will provide the educational content. Farmers who participate in the programs will leave with valuable, practical knowledge they can use to determine if a solar lease agreement is a sound decision for themselves and their community. The program will cover the following topics:

– The context for solar energy development on Michigan farmland

– A community vision for solar energy systems

– Zoning approaches for solar energy

– Siting considerations for utility-scale solar

– Integrating solar with existing ag systems

– Understanding solar energy lease agreements

– Taxation guidance including the impact on PA 116

Locally, a meeting will be held in Powers on March 7 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. To register for a meeting or for further information, go to The registration deadline is midnight Sunday, March 4. There is a registration fee. Preregistration is required and registration will not be available onsite.

If you have questions about the agriculture solar leasing meetings or would like more information on energy efficiency practices or renewable energy projects, contact Charles Gould at 616-994-4547 or .