Solar Rooftop Leasing

Solar rooftop leasing is one of the three basic ways you can make money from your rooftop with solar energy. The other two involve owning and operating solar panels on your own roof and joint venturing with a developer who will install the solar panels and share the income with you.
While a property owner might not have the resources to invest in a rooftop solar today … they still might be interested in realizing some income from solar energy through leasing their rooftop space to a developer – and make money while they learn more about the benefits of installing solar energy on their building.
In this section we will focus primarily on what you need to know if you are considering solar rooftop leasing.
Solar Energy is Creating a Demand for Rooftop Space
As the solar energy movement continues to grow in both size and stature, governments, property owners and power providers are all seeking ways to access and leverage solar energy resources to their best advantage.
Obviously, in order to produce electricity from the sun – you need someplace to install your solar panels. In Europe, the Feed in Tariffs are generally structured in such a way as to pay a higher amount per kWh of power produced. This not only encouraged homeowners to install solar panels on their roofs – but also the owners of large buildings, Churches, governments and even the military are installing solar panels on their property.
While a growing number of property owners are investing in the installation of solar panels on their roofs – a new group of small to independent developers began exploring the feasibility of leasing rooftops, attracting investors and raising the money to pay for the solar installations.
Because of this growing demand – property owners are seeing interest from developers willing to pay to lease the space.
Rooftops Can Generate Income
Many commercial, industrial and retail buildings can provide the real estate needed for these systems, and are subsequently viewed as excellent candidates for roof rental.
In our experience in Germany – the optimum size installation is 250 kWh and above. These large PV systems typically require large amounts of rooftop space – with the exact amount depending on the type of solar panels used (i.e., solar panels with higher kWp require less space.
A growing number of third-party solar power providers are looking to rent roof surfaces from building owners in a designated area, install PV systems and sell the power generated to the local utility companies through pre-negotiated agreements.
Building owners don’t have to get involved in marketing the power generated on their roofs, and the lease agreements frequently guarantee at least 20 years of dependable rental income.
In Germany – we are able to find roofs on large apartment complexes in East Germany for about €1.00 / sqm / year. However, by offering to prepay the full 20 year lease in advance we can usually negotiate an even lower lease cost.
Note: Roof lease rates are directly related to the prevailing FIT rates in Europe. As FIT rates drop … the amount a developer is willing to pay to lease the rooftop also declines roughly the same amount.
In the USA – the lease rate will depend on the price that the developer can realize from the sale of the electricity produced.
Clark Howard says the power company has made leasing roofs in Georgia illegal to protect its' interests.
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