SOLAR BOOM SPREADS TO LAND AND ROOFTOPS

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U.S. companies plan for over $100B in solar projects and are considering large tracts of timber land as well as the rooftops of malls and other commercial buildings.

NEW YORK – In the year since the 2022 climate bill became law, U.S. companies have announced plans for more than $100 billion in solar domestic projects. Small-scale installations, often on rooftops, account for about a third of U.S. solar output.

Tax incentives have solar developers looking for places to tilt photovoltaic panels toward the sun. They are finding receptive hosts among the country’s biggest property owners.

A solar developer paid timber company PotlatchDeltic about $7,500 an acre, a $14 million total, last year in the forest-product company’s first deal. The price was roughly 10 times greater than what the land was worth growing trees.

The company now has about $200 million of land sales and leases lined up with solar developers on roughly 20,000 acres. Weyerhaeuser, America’s largest private landowner, expects its first utility-scale solar project to go online at year-end and is scouting locations for more, a spokesman said.

In towns and cities, where there is much less room than in the rural South, solar developers are covering the roofs of self-storage buildings.

At Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, more than a million square feet of solar panels share rooftops with gardens and beehives, all part of the outdoor-mall operator’s effort to appeal to green investors and environmental-minded customers while cutting its utility bills.

Tanger used to lease its rooftops to developers, but has lately installed its own arrays atop malls in Florida, Texas, and Arizona.

Source: Wall Street Journal (08/22/23) Dezember, Ryan

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