In Michigan, solar energy developers are actively contacting farm owners in an effort to secure land for solar energy projects. The driving force behind this flurry of activity is the 7 cent per kilowatt/hour increase in the avoidance cost recently approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission. This recent development, along with declining costs of solar panels and other equipment over a period of years, has improved the balance sheet for new solar energy projects in Michigan.

In an effort to help farmers understand the renewable energy landscape, nuances of solar leases, zoning considerations, and accompanying tax implications, MSU Extension, Michigan Farm Bureau and the Michigan Energy Office are teaming to host programs for farmers at various locations statewide. MSU Extension staff with lease agreement, tax, and zoning expertise will provide the educational content. Farmers who participate in the programs will leave with valuable, practical knowledge they can use to determine if a solar lease agreement is a sound decision for themselves and their community.

The programs will cover:
  • Context for Solar Energy Development on Michigan Farmland
  • Community Vision for Solar Energy Systems
  • Zoning Approaches for Solar Energy
  • Siting Considerations for Utility-Scale Solar
  • Integrating Solar with Existing Ag Systems
  • Understanding Solar Energy Lease Agreements
  • Taxation Guidance including Impact on PA 116

Programs sponsored by Michigan Farm Bureau and the Michigan Energy Office

Where: There are several program locations/dates statewide:

March 7 - Powers (10am-2:30pm Central Time)
Pinecrest Medical Care Facility
N15995 Main St.
Powers, MI 49874

March 8 - Traverse City
Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station
6686 S Center Hwy
Traverse City, MI 49684

March 13 - Big Rapids
Mecosta County Services Building
14485 Northland Dr.
Big Rapids, MI 49307

March 14 - Frankenmuth
Saginaw Valley Research & Extension Center
3775 S Reese Rd.
Frankenmuth, MI 48734

March 15 - Tecumseh (10:30am-3pm)
Tecumseh District Library
215 N Ottawa St.
Tecumseh, MI 49286

March 21 - Clarksville
Clarksville Experiment Station
9302 Portland Rd.
Clarksville, MI  48815

March 22 - Three Rivers
GreenMark Equipment
16700 Heimbach Rd
Three Rivers, MI 49093

March 28 & 29 - Webinar (6:30pm - 8:30pm Eastern)
This two-part webinar will cover all content from the face-to-face programs in a convenient, online format. Participants need a broadband internet connection, computer with speakers or mobile device. Program materials will be provided electronically. The url to connect will be emailed to registrants prior to the webinar.

When: All programs run 10am - 2:30pm, except for Tecumseh, which begins at 10:30am (Doors for all other locations open at 9:30am)

Cost: $20 per person. Program cost includes handouts and lunch.

Preregistration is required. Registration will not be available onsite.

Instructors: All instructors are MSU educators or specialists.

Download Event Flyer

General Registration
Process allows for individual and group registration.

Registration for Shining a Light on Agricultural Solar Energy Development is open.
Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on March 26, 2018.


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For more information, contact Charles Gould of MSU Extension at 616-994-4547 or