8 February 2024

As the global shift toward sustainable energy intensifies, landowners find themselves at a crossroads: should they lease their land for renewable energy projects or opt for an outright sale? Let’s explore the advantages of leasing and delve into the potential pitfalls of selling.

1. Steady Income Stream

Leasing land provides a passive, consistent revenue stream for landowners. Rather than a one-time lump sum from selling, leasing allows for ongoing payments over the lease term. This stability can be especially valuable for landowners who rely on their property for income. Imagine receiving regular payments that align with your commitment to clean energy. The ongoing rent is index linked and likely to be substantially better than other potential returns on income received from a sale.

2. Flexibility and Control

Leasing agreements can be tailored to suit landowners’ preferences. With a lease, you retain ownership your property in the long-term while supporting clean energy initiatives.

3. Preserving the Long-Term Purpose of Your Land

Leasing agricultural land for renewable energy projects allows it to ultimately serve a dual purpose. While generating clean energy in the short term, the land retains its agricultural potential in the long run. This means that even as solar panels or wind turbines operate, the soil remains available for farming – simultaneously for wind, and after the project is decommissioned in the case of solar and battery storage. It’s a sustainable approach that balances energy production with land preservation.

In the case of solar, there is also considerable evidence that the long periods your land will spend out of agricultural use will ultimately improve the quality of the soil.

Leasing your land means that you maintain a degree of control over its usage in the long-term. Once sold, however, your land’s destiny lies beyond your control. It could become a retail park, car park, or a housing development. If you cherish the idea of your land contributing to a cleaner planet, and with the long-term potential to return to agricultural use, leasing ensures that purpose.

4. Market Fluctuations

Land values fluctuate with market dynamics. What seems like a lucrative sale today might pale in comparison to future appreciation. Leasing, however, provides consistent and index linked income regardless of market shifts.

5. Long-Term Increase in Capital Value of Land

Once your land has been used for a renewable energy project and the lease has expired there is still a valuable infrastructure in place which will increase it’s value, should you wish to retain it.  This includes things like improved access to the site, cabling creating a physical connection to the grid and the precedent of previously consented planning permission.  The key here is that the ball is still in your court.

6. Keeping it in the Family

Memories, family history, and emotional connections are often tied to the land. Once it’s gone, regret may set in. Leasing allows you to maintain that connection while embracing progress. Whilst you may no longer want to, or be able to, use your land for its current purpose, your children or grandchildren may, and leasing keeps this option alive.

In conclusion

While selling land offers immediate financial gains, leasing provides a holistic approach—one that benefits you, the environment, and ensures that the land remains in your, your family’s or your business’ long-term control. As a landowner, consider the long-term impact and choose wisely.