Areas of southeastern Ontario are fortunate to have good transmission capacity, abundant solar insolation and wind resources, eligible classed agricultural land, decent drainage, supportive neighbours, and experienced and supportive municipalities. As a result, local landowners continue to experience strong interest from solar and wind developers looking for good project development sites. Well drafted and on-market option and lease agreements that treat landowners as an important project partner are critical to a positive and lasting relationship between the landowner and the developer.
A proper lease agreement with an on-market rental rate and fair and reasonably accommodating terms and conditions from both perspectives, can and does distinguish successful projects that proceed with relative ease through local public consultation, municipal support, and regulatory approvals from those that treat their landowner(s) as outsiders privy to little project information. In our experience, a satisfied and co-operative landowner host can be invaluable in the efficient use of limited project development resources, disseminating accurate information, quietly advocating for the project in the community, and helping keep a project on track at critical project milestones including NTP, financial close, the construction period, and approaching COD. Landowners’ wishes and concerns can typically be easily and inexpensively addressed, often to the overall improvement of the project.
Many landowners and developers we have worked with recognize that their project area landowners can add important time or money-saving insight into seasonal site conditions, site history, habitat and species patterns, that can complement the work of paid experts, but most importantly are cooperative and reasonable if and when amendments might need to be made to the project layout or agreements. Satisfied and respected landowners will lend vital support for the project on its merits and the associated local economic development; support which cannot be overstated for some projects when unanticipated issues or challenges arise.
We have considerable experience advising landowners, developers, municipalities, renewable energy co-operatives, and other project partners and market participants with respect to project development and project finance, and would be pleased to speak with you if you require guidance navigating the world of renewable energy project agreements. Our solicitors that work on these matters are specialized in energy law (including the Ontario Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program, Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) program, and other Ontario Power Authority procurement programs), corporate/ commercial law, real property law, environmental and municipal law, that can apply considerable industry knowledge and a practical approach that helps facilitate project development that works for everyone. Our litigation lawyers are also experienced in liens, claims on equipment, and related matters with respect to projects that may be facing challenges.