Solar farm developers target New York with lease offers

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Less than a year after New York banned fracking, killing hopes of gas royalty riches, another industry is courting farmers for energy production leases: commercial solar.

Buoyed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's renewable energy plan and the extension of federal tax credits, solar companies are blanketing rural areas with mailings seeking leases on farmland for solar arrays spanning 20 acres or more.

While some farmers welcome the opportunity to earn up to $2,000 an acre annually, some agricultural advisers, community leaders and lawyers are urging caution to ensure farmers get a fair deal.

California-based Cypress Creek Renewables says it hopes to have solar farms across New York by next year. It already has operational sites in North and South Carolina, Texas, Indiana, Missouri, Minnesota, Oregon and Georgia.