Statewide shining a light on agricultural solar energy development meetings

Topics include understanding the nuances of solar leases, zoning considerations, and accompanying tax implications of solar projects.

In December of 2017, policy changes by the Michigan Public Service Commission increased the potential for utility-scale solar projects to be profitable. Since then, solar developers have been actively contacting farm owners to secure land for solar energy projects. In an effort to help farmers understand the renewable energy landscape, nuances of solar leases, zoning considerations, and accompanying tax implications, MSU Extension and Michigan Farm Bureau are holding programs for farmers at four locations around the state. These meetings are similar to the meetings held in 2018. MSU Extension staff with lease agreement, tax, and zoning expertise will provide the educational content. Farmers and landowners who participate in the programs will leave with valuable, practical knowledge they can use to determine if a solar lease agreement is a sound financial decision for themselves and a benefit to 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

Meetings will be held around the state on the following dates and locations:

  • March 14 - Quality Inn-Forward Conference Center, 2980 Cook Rd., West Branch, MI 48661

  • March 19 - Fillmore Government Complex-Main Conference Room, 12220 Fillmore St, West Olive, MI 49460

  • March 28 - AgroLiquid Conference Center, 3055 W M-21, St. Johns, MI 48879

  • April 10 - Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center, E3774 University Dr., Chatham, MI 49816

All programs run from 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. with doors opening at 9:30 a.m.

To register for a meeting or for further information, go to Preregistration is required. Registration will be accepted up to two days prior to the meeting you want to attend. Registration will not be available onsite. The registration fee is $20 per person. Michigan Farm Bureau and the Michigan Energy Office have provided additional financial support for the meetings.

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

Did you find this article useful?