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How to Evaluate Commercial Properties for Renewable Energy Projects

Updated: May 20

Photograph of a man in a white hard hat holding a map while standing on brown grassland with trees in the background

As the global demand for energy continues to rise, so does the need for efficient and sustainable energy projects. One of the critical aspects of successful energy projects is the identification and acquisition of high-value properties. Energy efficiency, decarbonization and energy storage have become important for all levels of government not only to support growing populations but also to expand the renewable energy portfolio to meet state and federal energy goals.

LandGate provides data and analytics to integrate renewable energy and commercial real estate across the United States. Professionals that are interested in utilizing these data sets can book a free demo to learn more about the platform.

How to Evaluate Commercial Properties for Renewable Energy Projects

Location plays a critical role in the success and effectiveness of commercial real estate projects involving clean energy projects that involve a better electric system or storage system. In order to have distributed energy across populated areas, it is important to identify properties that have the potential to handle electrical infrastructure.

Accessibility and Convenience

Accessibility and convenience is a major factor that affects the effectiveness of commercial real estate energy projects.

  • Proximity to High-Traffic Areas: The strategic placement of commercial real estate properties intended for EV charging stations and battery storage facilities is crucial. These properties should be located near busy areas such as vibrant shopping centers, thriving business districts, and heavily traveled major highways. The reason for this deliberate choice is to make it easier for electric vehicle owners to access the charging infrastructure, which will ultimately increase their usage and generate more revenue for the property owner.

  • Accessibility for Grid Operators: In order to ensure seamless integration and effective functioning within the electrical grid, the positioning of battery storage facilities necessitates careful consideration of their geographic location. By locating these facilities near substations or areas with high demand for grid services, it is possible to establish efficient connections to the electrical grid. This optimizes grid management operations and reduces transmission losses that may occur during energy transmission.

Grid Support and Stability:

Understanding the intricacies of electrical grid support and grid stability is paramount in today's energy landscape. As we transition towards incorporating more renewable energy sources, the role of the grid becomes increasingly complex and vital. The electrical grid must not only deliver power reliably but also maintain stability amidst fluctuating supply and demand, especially with the variable nature of renewable energies, like solar and wind.

  • Grid Constraints: Accurately detect and identify areas that are afflicted with grid constraints, which may manifest as recurring power outages or voltage fluctuations. The strategic positioning of battery storage facilities plays a crucial role in not just stabilizing the grid, but also improving its overall reliability for the numerous commercial and residential consumers it serves.

  • Grid Services: Battery storage facilities harbor immense potential to offer a plethora of invaluable services to the grid. These services encompass a wide range of functionalities, including but not limited to peak shaving, load shifting, and frequency regulation. To maximize their effectiveness, it is imperative that these facilities are strategically situated. This will enable their seamless integration into demand response programs and grid-balancing services that strive to optimize the grid's efficiency and productivity.

Market Demand:

The surge in electric vehicle (EV) adoption presents a pivotal opportunity for the expansion of EV charging stations, underscoring the critical importance of market demand in shaping this emerging landscape. As consumers increasingly pivot towards eco-friendly transportation options, the necessity for accessible, reliable EV charging infrastructure becomes paramount.

  • Demographics and EV Adoption: Ensuring a successful return on investment for EV charging infrastructure, it is crucial to thoroughly comprehend the demographics of the local market and the rate at which electric vehicles are being adopted. It has been observed that areas that have a higher concentration of electric vehicle owners tend to yield a more profitable outcome for such investments.

  • Future Growth Potential: It is equally important to take into account the future growth potential of the area in question when considering the establishment of EV charging infrastructure. Locations situated in regions that are experiencing a steady increase in population and witnessing a surge in the adoption rate of electric vehicles might present long-term and sustainable revenue opportunities.

Infrastructure and Zoning Regulations:

Understanding infrastructure and zoning regulations is crucial when planning the deployment of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. These legal frameworks dictate where and how EV charging infrastructure can be constructed, influencing everything from the selection of sites to the design and operation of the charging stations. Complying with these regulations ensures that charging stations are accessible and safe for public use, while also integrating seamlessly into existing urban and rural landscapes.

  • Infrastructure Availability: Thoroughly evaluate and assess the availability of the essential infrastructure required for a successful project. This includes important aspects like electrical connections and road access. By doing so, one can avoid unexpected and expensive upgrades or potential delays that may arise if the infrastructure is found to be inadequate or insufficient.

  • Zoning and Permitting: It is crucial to understand the types of zones local zoning regulations and permitting prerequisites that specifically pertain to commercial real estate ventures involving EV charging and battery storage. Zoning laws aim to establish a comprehensive framework for the overall character and ambiance of neighborhoods. Typically, lawmakers craft these regulations to strike a harmonious balance between economic considerations, historical preservation, social considerations, and aesthetic preferences.

Grid Integration Opportunities:

The importance of energy grid mapping in real estate cannot be overstated. Grid interconnection opportunities are essential for ensuring a seamless transition to a more sustainable and resilient energy system. They enable the integration of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, into the existing electricity grid, thus reducing reliance on fossil fuels and minimizing carbon emissions. By fostering an environment where diverse energy sources can easily connect and contribute to the overall energy mix, grid interconnection ensures a more stable and reliable electricity supply.

  • Grid Interconnection: One of the key factors to consider in determining the suitability of a location for electrical grid integration is its proximity to substations and grid interconnection points. If a location is situated near these crucial infrastructural elements, it can lead to significant benefits such as reduced infrastructure costs and enhanced grid management capabilities. This is because being close to substations and interconnection points allows for easier and more efficient integration with the local electrical grid, leading to a smoother and more streamlined operation overall.

LandGate’s data is able to provide LandApp subscribers with unique searching capabilities to locate properties that are close to electrical infrastructure like substations and distribution lines:

Screenshot of landgate's electrical infrastructure map data
LandGate's electrical infrastructure data

Environmental Considerations:

Balancing the need for renewable energy deployment with the imperative to maintain biodiversity, minimize habitat disruption, and manage natural resource use is crucial. Early and thoughtful integration of environmental assessments and mitigation strategies into project planning helps in identifying potential impacts and developing measures to avoid or lessen them, thereby safeguarding ecological integrity while advancing towards a greener energy future.

  • Environmental Impact: Through a detailed examination of land use, it becomes possible to determine the extent to which the project influences the surrounding environment and ecosystem. A focus on emissions reduction ensures that the project actively contributes towards minimizing its carbon footprint and promoting cleaner air quality. The incorporation of sustainable development practices plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the project aligns with long-term environmental goals, such as preserving biodiversity and utilizing renewable resources. By considering each of these factors, the project can establish a holistic understanding of its environmental impact, allowing for informed decision-making and the potential for positive change.

By opting for environmentally friendly locations to implement the project, the organization not only fulfills its corporate social responsibility goals but also enhances its potential to attract a customer base that is environmentally conscious and values sustainable practices. The strategic choice of these locations demonstrates the organization's commitment to minimizing negative environmental impacts and fostering a greener future.

Economic Factors:

Understanding the economic factors involved in investing in commercial property is crucial for both seasoned and novice investors. It serves as the foundation for making informed decisions that can significantly impact the profitability and sustainability of the investment. These factors, ranging from market trends and property valuation to tax implications and lease structures, play a pivotal role in determining the potential return on investment (ROI). Economic factors vary by location.

  • Cost of Land and Utilities: When considering the potential profitability of such a venture, it is essential to take into account not only the purchase price of the land but also the ongoing expenses related to utilities such as electricity, water, and other essential services. These expenses can add up quickly and potentially eat into any potential profits. Be sure to carefully evaluate and compare the costs of land and utilities in different locations to ensure the project's financial viability and maximize potential returns. By selecting a location with competitive utility rates and reasonable land prices, developers can increase their chances of success and improve the overall financial outlook of the project.

How to Evaluate Public Properties for Renewable Energy Projects

Efficient and accurate site selection is a pivotal factor in the success of commercial real estate projects involving energy related development. LandGate provides data and analytics to link renewable energy with commercial real estate. The trillions of renewable energy data points appended to every parcel across the U.S. allows users to quickly analyze the renewable energy potential of assets.

Book a free demo with us to learn how our platform is currently being leveraged to:

  • Prioritize site selection based on renewable energy considerations

  • Calculate risk profiles for portfolios that have potential or existing renewable assets

  • Estimate the value of energy projects like solar, wind, EV charging and battery storage

  • Access proprietary marketplace for both buyers and sellers of renewable energy projects


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