Should You Build A Solar Farm on Your Property?


Solar energy panels in a farmer's field

by Caroline Kirby

Property owners across the country have been turning to solar power systems for various reasons, but two great ones include lowering your carbon footprint and boosting your property’s value. Regardless of your reasons, turning to solar power could be a great decision for your property.

Many commercial property owners are turning their empty land into solar farms.

Solar Farms Explained

Solar farms (aka solar parks and solar fields) are large-scale application of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate green, clean electricity at scale, usually to feed into the grid. They can span anywhere from 1 to 100 acres and are usually found in rural areas.

Things to Consider

Solar power systems provide economic and environmental incentives and as the cost of renewable energy comes down there’s no better time to get into solar energy, but here are some questions to consider when making a decision.

  1. Does your land have good solar exposure? Ideal land for successful solar energy ventures is flat, located in an area with high levels of sun, does not have too many trees (shade will reduce the output), and has southern exposure. For a quick look to see if your land is a good match use a PV watts calculator.
  2. Do you have time? While the final product is well worth it, developing a solar farm, even smaller ones, require a lot of planning and a lot of time. If you’re looking for faster turnaround on your investment then this may not be the venture for you. Permitting, financing, and construction can keep your solar farm in production for 2-5 years.
  3. Is your land near existing transmission infrastructure? High voltage transmission lines or substations located near your land could save you substantially by cutting out the need to build extra transmission infrastructure. If you haven’t bought land yet consider this factor when searching for properties.
  4. Will local utilities buy the power from your farm? Finding a great property that fits all the criteria means nothing if you don’t have customers. Call around to regional utility or large commercial properties in the area and see if they’re looking for solar energy.
  5. Can you maintain the farm? In order to efficiently maintain your solar panels you’ll need land that’s near water resources as you’ll have to do regular rinsing to keep dust away, you’ll need man power to remove leaves and debris in the fall, equipment for removing any ice or snow in the winter, and you can’t forget annual inspections! Solar energy is worth the hassle, but it isn’t maintenance-free. Keep this in mind when considering options for your land.

The world is moving to cleaner and safer energy sources so if you have an ideal property for solar, why not go for it? The process is long and requires lots of documentation, but the end result is well worth it.

Here are some great properties featured on LandHub that may be a great starting point for solar farms.

When you’re ready to start shopping around you can browse our properties hereAt LandHub, we offer thousands of resources and listings if you’re looking for land chances are we have it.

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Will the Tesla Solar Roof Revolutionize Energy-Efficient Homes?



by Doug Gelbert
Photo credit: www.Tesla.com

The first thing to know about the Tesla solar roof is that it looks fantastic. When Elon Musk, Tesla founder and energetic market disruptor, announced he was going into the residential solar energy business last fall he stated as his main motivation that all the solar energy-paneled roofs he had seen were flat out ugly. There would be no reason getting into the game if he couldn’t make a better looking solar roof.

Mission accomplished on that score. There are four style varieties of Tesla solar roof, each made out of tempered glass tiles embedded with photovoltaic cells: black textured glass, gray smooth glass, Tuscan glass and slate glass. Tesla has begun taking orders for its solar roofs and at this point only the first two are available. The other two will come online in 2018. From the photos of the model homes released to the public thus far the Tesla solar roof looks as good or better than any current upscale roof on the market. From the street there is no way to tell you are looking at a power-generating roof.

With his introduction Must vowed that the Tesla solar roof would be a “better product at a slightly better price.” Here is where the true value comparisons become a little murky. The cost of a new asphalt shingle roof on a 3,000-square foot house will run in the ballpark of $15,000. An equivalent Tesla solar roof will cost north of $65,000.

We will grant Musk that he has a better product, even if it is still unknown exactly how efficient the glass tiles will be in real-world conditions and the reliability of the PowerWall storage and distribution system is similarly untested. But can the average homeowner really save enough dollars on energy costs to recoup at least $50,000?

There are many variables that can never accurately be plugged into that equation without a time travel machine. Will attractive government tax credits available for solar energy today still be in force in years – and decades – to come? Will the cost of electricity continue to go up at an accustomed 2% every year? What if a new technology is developed that will actually send the cost of power tumbling down in the future? Will the utility companies that today allow residential solar energy producers to flow power back into the grid for credit still maintain those policies? What if Tesla does not even survive as a company as long as the roof?

Questions, questions, questions. There is no simple answer as to whether the new Tesla solar roofs will be the salvation of homeowners and their energy needs. For now it appears that the market for the exciting Tesla solar roof will be the same as the market was for Musk’s exciting Tesla electric cars – early adopters who lust after the flashiest new thing and come with open checkbooks to bear, regardless of the cost. One thing is for sure – they will be getting a great looking roof.

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