U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Aug 15, 2020

§ 2806.52 - Rents and fees for solar energy development grants.

You must pay an annual acreage rent and MW capacity fee for your solar energy development grant as follows:

(a) Acreage rent. The BLM will calculate the acreage rent by multiplying the number of acres (rounded up to the nearest tenth of an acre) within the authorized area times the annual per acre zone rate from the solar energy acreage rent schedule in effect at the time the authorization is issued.

(1) Per acre zone rate. The annual per acre zone rate from the solar energy acreage rent schedule is calculated using the per acre zone value (as assigned under paragraph (a)(2) of this section), encumbrance factor, rate of return, and the annual adjustment factor. The calculation for determining the annual per acre zone rate is A × B × C × D = E where:

(i) A is the per acre zone value = the same per acre zone values described in the linear rent schedule in § 2806.20(c);

(ii) B is the encumbrance factor = 100 percent;

(iii) C is the rate of return = 5.27 percent;

(iv) D is the annual adjustment factor = the average annual change in the IPD-GDP for the 10-year period immediately preceding the year that the NASS Census data becomes available (see § 2806.22(a)). The BLM will adjust the per acre zone rates each year based on the average annual change in the IPD-GDP as determined under § 2806.22(a). Adjusted rates are effective each year on January 1; and

(v) E is the annual per acre zone rate.

(2) Assignment of counties. The BLM will calculate the per acre zone rate in paragraph (a)(1) of this section by using a State-specific factor to assign a county to a zone in the solar energy acreage rent schedule. The BLM will calculate a State-specific factor and apply it to the NASS data (county average per acre land and building value) to determine the per acre value and assign a county (or other geographical area) to a zone. The State-specific factor represents the percent difference between improved agricultural land and unimproved rangeland values, using NASS data. The calculation for determining the State-specific factor is (A/B)−(C/D) = E where:

(i) A = the NASS Census statewide average per acre value of non-irrigated acres;

(ii) B = the NASS Census statewide average per acre land and building value;

(iii) C = the NASS Census total statewide acres in farmsteads, homes, buildings, livestock facilities, ponds, roads, wasteland, etc.;

(iv) D = the total statewide acres in farms; and

(v) E = the State-specific percent factor or 20 percent, whichever is greater.

(3) The initial assignment of counties to the zones on the solar energy acreage rent schedule will be based upon the most recent NASS Census data (2012) for years 2016 through 2020. The BLM may on its own or in response to requests consider making regional adjustments to those initial assignments, based on evidence that the NASS Census values do not accurately reflect the value of the BLM-managed lands in a given area. The BLM will update this rent schedule once every 5 years by re-assigning counties to reflect the updated NASS Census values as described in § 2806.21 and recalculate the State-specific percent factor once every 10 years as described in § 2806.22(b).

(4) Acreage rent payment. You must pay the acreage rent regardless of the stage of development or operations on the entire public land acreage described in the right-of-way authorization. The BLM State Director may approve a rental payment plan consistent with § 2806.15(c).

(5) Acreage rent adjustments. This paragraph (a)(5) applies unless you selected the scheduled rate adjustment method (see § 2806.51). The BLM will adjust the acreage rent annually to reflect the change in the per acre zone rates as specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section. The BLM will use the most current per acre zone rates to calculate the acreage rent for each year of the grant term.

(6) You may obtain a copy of the current per acre zone rates for solar energy development (solar energy acreage rent schedule) from any BLM State, district, or field office or by writing: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, 20 M Street SE., Room 2134LM, Attention: Renewable Energy Coordination Office, Washington, DC 20003. The BLM also posts the current solar energy acreage rent schedule for solar energy development at http://www.blm.gov.

(b) MW capacity fee. The MW capacity fee is calculated by multiplying the approved MW capacity by the MW rate (for the applicable type of technology employed by the project) from the MW rate schedule (see paragraph (b)(2) of this section). You must pay the MW capacity fee annually when electricity generation begins or is scheduled to begin in the approved POD, whichever comes first:

(1) MW rate. The MW rate is calculated by multiplying the total hours per year, by the net capacity factor, by the MWh price, by the rate of return. For an explanation of each of these terms, see the definition of MW rate in § 2801.5(b).

(2) MW rate schedule. You may obtain a copy of the current MW rate schedule for solar energy development from any BLM State, district, or field office or by writing: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, 20 M Street SE., Room 2134LM, Attention: Renewable Energy Coordination Office, Washington, DC 20003. The BLM also posts the current MW rate schedule for solar energy development at http://www.blm.gov.

(3) Periodic adjustments in the MW rate. This paragraph (b)(3) applies unless you selected the scheduled rate adjustment method (see § 2806.51). The BLM will adjust the MW rate applicable to your grant every 5 years, beginning in 2021, by recalculating the following two components of the MW rate formula:

(i) The adjusted MWh price is the average of the annual weighted average wholesale price per MWh for the major trading hubs serving the 11 Western States of the continental United States for the full 5 calendar-year period preceding the adjustment, rounded to the nearest dollar increment; and

(ii) The adjusted rate of return is the 10-year average of the 20-year U.S. Treasury bond yield for the full 10 calendar-year period preceding the adjustment, rounded to the nearest one-tenth percent, with a minimum rate of return of 4 percent.

(4) MW rate phase-in. This paragraph (b)(4) applies unless you selected the scheduled rate adjustment method (see § 2806.51). If you hold a solar energy development grant, the MW rate will be phased in as follows:

(i) There is a 3-year phase-in of the MW rate when electricity generation begins or is scheduled to begin in the approved POD, whichever comes first, at the rates of:

(A) 25 percent for the first year. This rate applies for the first partial calendar year of operations, from the date electricity generation begins until Dec. 31 of that year;

(B) 50 percent for the second year; and

(C) 100 percent for the third and subsequent years of operations.

(ii) After generation of electricity starts and an approved POD provides for staged development:

(A) The 3-year phase-in of the MW rate applies to each stage of development; and

(B) The MW capacity fee is calculated using the authorized MW capacity approved for that stage plus any previously approved stages, multiplied by the MW rate.

(5) The general payment provisions for rents described in this subpart, except for § 2806.14(a)(4), also apply to the MW capacity fee.

(c) Initial implementation of the acreage rent and MW capacity fee. This paragraph (c) applies unless you selected the scheduled rate adjustment method (see § 2806.51). If you hold a solar energy grant and made payments for billing year 2016, the BLM will reduce by 50 percent the net increase in annual costs between billing year 2017 and billing year 2016. The net increase will be calculated based on a full calendar year.

(d) Scheduled rate adjustment. Under the scheduled rate adjustment method (see § 2806.51), the BLM will update your per acre zone rate and MW rate as follows:

(1) The BLM will calculate your payments using the per acre zone rate (see § 2806.52(a)(1)) and MW rate (see § 2806.52(b)(1)) in place when your grant is issued, or for existing grants, the per acre zone rate and MW rate in place prior to December 19, 2016, as adjusted under paragraph (d)(6) of this section;

(2) The per acre zone rate will increase:

(i) Annually, beginning after the first full calendar year plus any initial partial year following issuance of your grant, by the average annual change in the IPD-GDP as described in § 2806.22(b); and

(ii) Every 5 years, beginning after the first 5 calendar years, plus any initial partial year, following issuance of your grant, by 20 percent;

(3) The MW rate will increase by 20 percent every 5 years, beginning after the first 5 years, plus the initial partial year, if any, your grant is in effect;

(4) The BLM will not apply the phase-in to your MW rate under § 2806.52(b)(4) or the reduction under § 2806.52(c);

(5) If the approved POD for your project provides for staged development, the BLM will calculate the MW capacity fee using the MW capacity approved for the current stage plus any previously approved stages, multiplied by the MW rate, as described under this section.

(6) For grants in place prior to January 18, 2017 that select the scheduled rate adjustment method offered under § 2806.51(c), the per acre zone rate and the MW rate in place prior to December 19, 2016 will be adjusted for the first year's payment using the scheduled rate adjustment method as follows:

(i) The per acre zone rate will increase by the average annual change in the IPD-GDP as described in § 2806.22(b) plus 20 percent;

(ii) The MW rate will increase by 20 percent; and

(iii) Subsequent increases will be performed as set forth in paragraphs (d)(2) and (3) of this section from the date of the initial adjustment under this paragraph (d).

[81 FR 92217, Dec. 19, 2016]