Buying Land for a Solar Farm

Updated: Dec 10, 2018

One of the biggest cash crops in America is something that many people wouldn’t suspect - the sun. There are many reasons why people are looking to purchase farmland to convert into a solar farm.

The American Federal government provides a 30% tax credit to solar developers, along with state, utility, and local solar rewards. Harvesting solar energy through a large-scale operation is still somewhat of a recent phenomena, and people often have many questions surrounding the idea of solar development and how the process works.

How Much Land Do You Need for a Solar Farm?

Most people can picture solar panels on a home’s roof. At-home solar panel systems are usually made up of a few panels. If you’ve ever driven through the desert, you’ve probably passed by huge solar farms. This is one of the great aspects of harvesting solar energy. Solar developments can be created as small or as large as needed. For instance, a few panels for a single house, or a large-scale solar farm for an entire town. Before embarking on a solar project, you will need to find a good piece of land, tailored to your specific goals. Typically, you will want to find land that is near a community with new developments, so the energy can be sold back into the local utility and distributed to energy customers in the surrounding areas. In some cases, land owners might lease farm land to private developers for solar projects. Our experienced Accredited Land Consultant, Jason DurJava, can help you find the perfect piece of land for building your own solar farm or find land to lease to independent solar developers.

Solar developments are usually categorized into two separate sized projects, Transmission Scale and Distributed Generation

Transmission Scale Solar Farms

Transmission Scale Solar Farms are the largest solar development operations. For a functioning Transmission Scale Solar Farm, you will need at least 150 useable acres with some solar farms reaching up to 600 or more acres. These solar projects work by attaching directly to transmission lines. Thus, the farms need to be large-scale, since there are sizable costs for connecting to power lines, so the project will need to be large enough to generate an efficient amount of energy for a higher return on investment.

Distributed Generation Solar Farms

Distributed generation solar farms usually range from 10-50 useable acres. Distributed Generation operations can function at a smaller scale, because they are connected to smaller power lines, known as

distribution lines.

What is a “Useable Acre”?

We mentioned earlier solar farm projects will need “useable” acres of land. This means that wetlands, land with floodplains, heavy slopes, and other qualities will make it impossible to construct functioning solar operations. With that said, before purchasing a large acreage farm, you will need to survey the land with the help of a professional to ensure that it is suitable for your goals.

Financing for Solar Farms

Most solar farms depend on loans and grants from private and public sources to install and purchase high quality solar technology. Oftentimes, national programs operated by government lenders, like the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are the primary source of funding. Private investors and partnerships also commonly fund solar operations.

Want to know more about buying land for solar farm production in the Turlock, CA area? Call Jason DurJava, ALC today at 209-431-0400.

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