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Understanding the Solar Project Development Process

Have you been considering leasing your land for solar, but are unsure of the process? OYA Renewables has been developing solar in North America since 2009 and understands the process through and through.

Using our decade plus of experience, we have compiled the following comprehensive guide to walk you through the solar project development process. By the end of it, you should have a clear understanding of what it entails and be equipped to make informed decisions.

Leasing your land for solar not only provides you with long-term, stable income, it always positions you and your community to benefit from clean energy for decades to come. Read our guide to the benefits of leasing land for solar

Why Should You Lease Your Land?  

Before we go in-depth with the development process involved in leasing your land for solar, we want to highlight the benefits of leasing your land. The main benefit is of course financial gain: you will receive long-term, stable income for decades to come. Landowners receive annual lease payments from solar developers, like OYA Renewables, at a competitive rate per acre for the lifespan of the solar farm.  

Another benefit is that you will be preserving the land for future agricultural use. On fields with solar panels, we plant pollinator-friendly plants that support adjacent fields. OYA Renewables works with local landowners to mow the vegetation underneath the panels or graze their sheep. Known as agrivoltaics, sheep grazing and growing crops underneath the panels keeps the land for agriculture and generates renewable energy. Now that you know some of the benefits, lets get into the development process.  

Assessing Your Land’s Potential: Preliminary Assessments 

Before diving into the solar project development process, it’s essential to assess your land’s potential for hosting a solar installation. Several factors come into play, including: 

Location and Solar Resource 

Evaluate the geographic location of your land to determine its solar potential. Factors such as average sunlight hours, shading, and weather patterns are crucial.  

Land Size and Topography 

Consider the size and topography of your land. Solar installations require sufficient space for the solar panels and associated infrastructure. Flat or gently sloping land is preferable, as it simplifies the construction process and maximizes energy generation. 

Environmental Considerations 

Evaluate any potential environmental constraints, such as protected habitats or endangered species, to ensure compliance with regulations. 

Accessibility and Grid Connection 

Assess the accessibility of your land and its proximity to the electrical grid. Connecting the solar project to the grid ensures the excess electricity generated can be supplied back or consumed locally. Availability of transmission lines and substations nearby simplifies the connection process. 

Finding a Solar Developer 

Collaborating with an experienced solar developer, like OYA Renewables, is crucial for a successful solar project. Here’s how you can find the right partner: 

Research and Background Check

Conduct thorough research to identify reputable solar developers in your region. Check their track record, project portfolio, and client testimonials. Look for developers with a proven history of delivering high-quality solar installations. 

OYA Renewables has a proven track record of success solar farm projects, working with landowners from start to finish to ensure they are looped into every step of the process. 


Choose a solar developer with expertise in project development, engineering, procurement, and construction. OYA’s in-house engineering and project management teams have successfully worked with numerous landowners to successfully develop solar projects on their land. 

Requesting Proposals

Invite multiple solar developers to submit proposals for your project. Evaluate their proposals based on project timelines, cost, technical expertise, and overall project approach. This will help you compare and select the developer that best aligns with your requirements. 

Negotiating Lease Terms 

Once you have chosen a solar developer, it’s time to negotiate lease terms. Consider the following points during this stage: 

Lease Duration and Renewal Options 

Determine the lease duration that works best for you. Solar leases typically span 20 to 30 years, allowing the developer to recover their investment. Discuss renewal options and the terms for extending the lease beyond the initial period. 

Rent and Payment Structure 

The rent amount is typically on a per-acre basis and the rate depends on several factors. Common payment structures include fixed annual rent, or escalating rent. Most companies don’t typically buy the land outright but that may the case in in specific circumstances. 

Permitting and Interconnection 

Before commencing construction, the solar project must obtain necessary permits and complete the interconnection process. Here’s what you need to know: 

Permitting Process 

The solar developer is responsible for acquiring the necessary permits required for land use, construction, and environmental compliance.  This may include zoning permits, building permits, and environmental impact assessments.


The large solar projects OYA builds feed electricity directly into the local power grid. Before leasing land, OYA checks the capacity in the local grid and the feasibility of connecting the project. We’ve learned that this initial due diligence helps to smooth out the connection process. 

There are a few phases to be completed when applying for interconnection before construction starts. The utility does an initial review of the solar project and once the project passes, then there is a full Coordinated Electric System Interconnection Review (CESIR). After construction is complete, the utility will go back and test the site before it becomes operational.  

Procurement Process 

Once the developer has acquired the permits, and we have notice to proceed, construction of the solar project can begin. Here are the key steps involved: 

Engineering and Design 

OYA’s team of experienced solar engineers design the optimal layout for your land, considering factors such as panel orientation, tracking systems, and wiring configuration, aiming to design a layout with minimal visual impact. 

Site Preparation and Infrastructure Installation 

The construction team will clear the land of any obstructions and prepare it for the installation of solar panels and any other associated infrastructure. This includes installing the foundations, mounting structures, inverters, transformers, and electrical wiring. 

Panel Installation and System Testing 

Once the land is ready for the solar panels, the team will set up the panels systematically, following design specifications and safety standards. Once installed, the system undergoes rigorous testing to ensure optimal performance and adherence to quality standards. 

Operation and Maintenance 

After successful installation, the solar project enters the operation and maintenance phase. Regular inspections, cleaning, and maintenance activities are performed to ensure the system operates at peak efficiency throughout its lifespan, all which OYA covers and handles. 


Leasing your land for solar can be a great opportunity to make stable income while contributing to a sustainable future. Understanding the solar project development process is crucial for making informed decisions. By assessing your land’s potential, finding a reliable solar developer, negotiating lease terms, completing permitting and interconnection processes, and overseeing construction and operation, you’ll set yourself up for success. 

At OYA Renewables we are passionate about guiding landowners through the solar project development journey with unmatched expertise. Contact us today to explore how you can start earning passive income while contributing to a greener tomorrow. 


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