Solar Real Estate Investing
This blog / podcast / video are an interview with John Copyak, the owner and founder of Clean USA Power. See our video here.
John saw the need to transition from fossil fuels to renewables and Has successfully negotiated more than 400 unique land transactions over 21 years and is an expert in renewable energy real estate.
Clean USA Power is a land provider for large wind and solar energy projects. Large Renewable energy developers lease our land to build wind and solar farms.
Clean USA Power primarily owns land in Lancaster Country, California, near Los Angeles. They currently have about 1,500 acres and are raising funds to acquire 2,000 more acres in California.
They are working in California because it is one of 11 states that has a mandate to convert all of their energy to alternative (non-fossil fuel) by 2030 and has other goals earlier.
All of their property is rented to developers alternative energy (wind, solar) generation. According to John, with new solar plus storage systems, modern solar installations have reached grid parity (cost equalization) with the cheapest alternatives like natural gas. With this economic reality, utilities and governments are recognizing that new renewable energy power plants are the best economic decision.
The renters of the land that Clean USA Power owns are large developers who sell the energy to utilities. The land is leased from Clean USA Power for 20 to 30 years.
Solar projects are a net impact investing positive, however, there are a surprising number of environmental considerations we run into with planning new sites. The land purchased needs to be within 5 miles of a substation.
Clean USA Power is raising $5M to buy another 2000 acres. To investing in Clean USA Power, you need to be accredited (earn at least $200k/year or have $1M to invest). The minimum investment is $50k and it needs to stay in the investment for 5 years.
Some of the risks and challenges to the solar land leasing include:
- Competition for energy sales contracts offered by utilities
- The declining prices utilities pay for solar energy (it has fallen steeply as solar panel prices have fallen)
- Strategic planning around the solar tariff
- Mitigating strict environmental compliance for projects (moving Joshua Trees, setting up conservation land etc.)
- Negotiating with unreasonable land owners within a project area
- Addressing concerns of nearby residents
This podcast, blog and video are for informational use only. We are not making investment recommendations. This is not an appropriate investment for everyone. As with any investment, please read the prospectus and discuss it with your financial planner.