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
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
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
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 dont 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.