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Solar leases and why this farmer made the decision

Glenn Heard gave some good advice to farmers thinking about committing some of their land, even their productive land, to solar leases.

Brad Haire

November 28, 2023

1 Min Read
Glenn Heard says putting some of his land into solar leases was a sustainability decision for his family.Brad Haire

Glenn Heard pointed to the solar panels next to the farm shop and said, “It's been a hard decision for every farmer, a decision that hasn’t been taken lightly.”

Growing cotton, peanuts, wheat, corn, carrots and sweet corn, Heard’s family is one of the largest, most-diversified farming operations in the Southeast, and they are well known in the region.

“It's a good business decision. Our family's getting bigger and bigger, and for us to be sustainable, we need it (solar),” he said, adding that over the last decade most farmers have struggled with low commodity prices, including him.

On a hot, late-summer day during a stop on the annual Georgia Peanut Tour, participants were highly interested in his decade-long journey and the decisions he’s made about on-farm solar panels.

In cooperation with Georgia Power, the state’s largest utility company, Heard installed his first solar panels in 2011, and again in 2012 and 2013. He sells the power generated by the panels back to Georgia Power, which is credited to the electric bill the company sends him to run his 100-plus irrigation systems.

“We get a credit on our bill for what we sell, but we also get charged for what we use. And they are two different prices on what we sell power for and what we buy power for,” he said.

He has a 4,000-acre farm that two companies currently have an option to install more solar panels on.

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