With a proven track record of financial benefits and increasingly efficient energy generation, solar energy is a rapidly growing industry within the green energy space. Much of the industry’s success can be attributed to the surge in rooftop solar installations as well as the lesser known growth of solar farm development across the country. Solar farms, also referred to as solar gardens, are large-scale solar installations spanning over acres of land that each generate energy for hundreds of homes and businesses. In this piece, we’ll cover everything you need to know about solar farms.
What are the benefits of solar farms?
Solar farms represent one of the most efficient ways to generate clean renewable energy, that is 100% produced by the sun. There is no risk of pollution of local water resources and no CO2 emissions produced throughout a solar farm’s lifespan. The production and technology of solar panels is steadily improving. In fact, you can count on most solar panels to last 25 years or longer. Solar farms also make dual-use of the land possible, whether for farming or grazing, it can actually represent an opportunity for low-impact use that has a positive effect on the environment during the life of the solar project. In most cases, land area beneath and around the modules can be reseeded to create natural meadow important for pollinators, birds, and small mammal species so that the project area is a productive habitat – of a different but vital type.
Aside from its list of environmental benefits, solar farms increase accessibility to the benefits of clean, local energy. Community solar programs allow homeowners and renters to subscribe to a solar farm and receive credits on their utility bill for the clean energy generated by their share. It’s the perfect option for those who don’t have the right roof for solar panels, find the installation prices too high, of just don’t like the look. Community solar projects can range from small-scale installations to large-scale ground mount installations resembling that of a utility-scale solar farm and can provide local job growth within a community.
How much power can a solar farm generate?
When it comes to how much power a solar farm can generate, it really depends on the acres needed (the size of the solar farm) and how efficient the solar panels are. The impact is potentially huge. Noor Complex solar farm is the largest solar power plant in the world. With a 580 MW capacity, the farm is estimated to provide clean energy to more than one million people. At Nexamp, we expect our 7.5 MW solar farm in, Newfield, NY to generate 9 million kWh of electricity in 2020 and offset 14,766,411 pounds of carbon that would be emitted by generating the same amount of electricity through fossil fuels.
Do you need planning permission for a solar farm?
Short answer – yes! Once a site has been identified and a solar developer has reached an agreement with a land or property owner, permitting is the first stage of the process. During this process, a solar developer works closely with municipalities to ensure they are in compliance with environmental regulations and zoning laws. When the project is permitted and there is approval from both electrical and building inceptors, construction of a solar farm can begin.
How long does it take to build a solar farm?
Once the permitting is approved from both the electrical and building inspectors, construction can begin. Depending on how large the solar farm is, and how many solar workers are involved, solar farm development can range anywhere between 3-4 months, weather permitted. After construction, tests are conducted to ensure the solar farm is working safely and properly.
Is a solar farm a good investment?
Landowners are recognizing the immense opportunity that solar leasing provides to their business without significantly restricting their agriculture capacity. Many are turning to solar farm development as an alternative to more permanent development such as housing subdivisions or shopping plazas.
These projects bring financial security in a form of recurring lease revenue, in addition to supporting a landowner or farmer’s operation.
At Nexamp, we lease open land from landowners and design, build, own and operate the solar farm for the life of the project. We work with property owners to determine the space needed to host a solar farm and can easily work around other land uses such as agriculture or conservation. Our in-house team monitors and maintains every solar project around the clock, ensuring maximum performance and revenue generation.
At Nexamp, we take the time to build relationships with our land and property owners. If you’re interested in hosting a solar farm on your land or building, visit https://www.nexamp.com/host-a-solar-farm or contact us at https://www.nexamp.com/contact-us.