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Bureau of Land Management releases rental rates for solar installations on public land

June 14, 2010 | 12:57 pm

The federal Bureau of Land Management released rental rates for solar power installations planned for public land across the sunny Western states.

Charges will include an annual base rent based on the land value for each county and also an annual megawatt capacity fee determined by the amount of electricity produced and the type of solar technology used. 

The bureau said it has identified about 23 million acres of government property that could support large solar projects. More than 200 right-of-way applications have been submitted to the bureau for processing.

The rental policy will become effective immediately, but will occasionally be reviewed so that updated information about land values and solar technologies can be factored in. The bureau developed the rental framework along with the Department of the Interior and the Department of Energy.

In Southern California, the base rent in 2010 for Imperial County will be $188.34 per acre, while Kern County’s rent will be $94.16 per acre. Each acre in Riverside County will cost $313.88 per acre and $125.56 in San Bernardino County.

The megawatt capacity fee will be phased in over five years, starting at 20% of the fee the first year of operation. Photovoltaic projects will be charged $5,256 per megawatt, while concentrated photovoltaics and concentrated solar power projects without storage capacity will have to pay $6,570 per megawatt. Projects that can store more than three hours of power will have to fork over $7,884 per megawatt.

"We are providing the solar energy industry the level of certainty it needs about the costs associated with projects on the public lands and ensuring a fair return to American taxpayers for the use of their public lands," BLM Director Bob Abbey said in a statement. 

-- Tiffany Hsu