Top 7 Tips For Farmers About Solar Farm Leases
While there are several economic advantages to farmers when leasing their land after meeting the solar farm land requirements for solar projects, its important to guard against the risks you may encounter.
When beginning the process, in most cases, you wont ever need to fill out applications and actively recruit a solar developer, assuming you satisfy the solar farm land requirements. They will come looking for you!
There is a huge demand for solar energy but not enough land to situate all the PV modules on. Your land is a precious commodity to solar developers. They have much to gain from you and want you to sign on with them.
Unfortunately, if you dont take all the necessary precautions, you could literally lose everything.
Here are the top 7 tips for farmers about solar farm leases to keep yourself in a good financial position from start to finish.
How Sunny Is It
Of course this is the first thing most people think about. Solar panels in Illinois dont get as much sunlight as those in Arizona or most of California. Illinois is not a particularly sunny place. But, it is also not particularly un-sunny, either. Its just average.
Also, because of net metering, you can benefit all year from sunny summer months. Extra energy your solar panels produce during spring and summer can be stored on the grid for darker winter months.
Further, the amount of sunshine is only one factor that determines the economics of solar.
Is The Cost Of Installing Solar Shingles Worth It
As the need to replace fossil fuel energy sources with renewable energy has grown, so has the availability of renewable power options. And today, there are now more residential solar energy options available to homeowners beyond installing traditional rooftop solar panels. One newer option is solar shingles. Solar shingles are designed to look like traditional roof shingles with a twist they generate solar energy for your home that can help offset electricity costs. But installation does not come cheap. So, is the cost of solar shingles worth it?
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The Bottom Line For Solar Panels In Illinois
When we project the economics of solar panels in Illinois, we take all of the above into account. We also take into account that snow will cover the panels a small percentage of the time, that tree pollen and dust will coat the panels in May , that trees and other buildings may provide some shade, and that not all roofs face due south.
The bottom line is that, as of 2018, solar panels are often cheapest way to purchase energy for a home in the greater Chicago area.
Kw Solar Panel Systems
Recently, there are many advertisements running on TV comparing prices and sizes of different PV solar systems, and it is time that we investigate just what is happening in terms of the consumers true value received. One particular commercial is promoting a solar system that is rated at 2 kilowatts or 2kw. The company, Petersen Dean Solar, talks about their pricing being substantially lower than the competition, by over $3,000 in costs. They advertise their solar system as costing only $6,000 compared to their main competitions pricing on the same two kilowatt system at $9,000. The competitor they mentioned is Solar City which is a larger and more well known solar installer in the United States.
The location of the Petersen Dean pricing was for Northern California, so we will use variables for that region of the United States. You can go ahead and use the sunlight hours page to calculate your specific numbers for your local area too.
Sunlight Hours in Oakland, California: 5.5 sunlight hours per day
Solar Energy efficiency loss: 10%
Math Equation: 2 kw * 5.5 = 12.5 kwh / day DC
Conversion to Alternating Current: 12.5 * 90% = 11.25 kwh/day
Monthly electricity from a 2kw solar system: 11.25*30= 338 kwh/month
Average kwh solar savings from the electric company: $84 per month in electricity savings
Annual Electricity Savings of $1,014 each year.
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Illinoiss Renewable Portfolio Standard
An RPS is a piece of legislation that mandates the partial transition to renewable energy sources by a certain date. When an RPS is strong, utility companies must promote the conversion to solar and other forms of clean energy. If the utilities fail to progress in this area, they pay fines to the state for noncompliance.
Illinois intends to have 25 percent renewable energy by 2025. While its not the most ambitious goal in the country, its certainly respectable. What does the RPS mean to state citizens? Generally, youll be motivated to go solar by rebates and performance payments.
Save A Pretty Penny With Solar
Its a shame there are so many misconceptions around solar today, but thats part of the game when a new technology disrupts a centuries-old industry against the backdrop of politicized facts.
At the end of the day, the most important thing you should know is that solar is an amazing investment. Itll beat the stock market for 30+ years. See for yourself our calculator will analyze your exact roof and provide an instant estimate on your savings with solar.
Just another day at the Solar.com office busting myths in every comments section on the internet!
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Purchasing Solar With Loan Funds In Illinois
If you compare the loan graph above with the purchase graph below, youll see that a purchase leaves you with more money at the end. Nevertheless, theres a significant cost to you at the beginning and for the first eight years. When you pay for your solar energy system with loan funds, you have nothing to spend and everything to gain.
In some states, if you dont have $16,000 available to purchase solar panels, your other options arent so sunny. In Illinois, however, your home equity is actually a better way to finance your installation. Even if you can afford to pay for the panels yourself, its worth taking the loan and doing something else with your own money. Youll still get your federal tax credit of 30 percent.
All you need to do is get a home equity line of credit for about $16,000, with a repayment period of 15 years and a fixed interest rate of 5 percent or less. If you dont qualify for a rate that low, dont necessarily reject the idea of a loan. You might not make as much as shown in the graph here, but youll still see profits every year, because your savings in energy costs will be so substantial.
The bottom line is that few investments today offer the same returns as a solar energy system purchased with borrowed money.
How Many Panels Do I Need
The size and cost of your system largely depends on your annual electricity usage and your propertys sun exposure. Comparing as many solar options as possible can help you avoid paying inflated prices for your system. We recommend getting at least three quotes.
Most solar companies will offer a free off-site quote, where they request your annual electricity usage and look up your propertys solar exposure to give you an estimate without a physical site visit. You can also check out Project Sunroof or PV Watts.
If you use less energy, youll need fewer solar panels to account for your electric load. Make sure youre not using more energy than you need by investing in energy-saving equipment and weatherizing your home. Check with your utility company to see what energy efficiency programs they offer. You may already be paying for such programs on your bill, so you should take advantage of them. More ways to cut your energy use and lower your solar project cost:
- The Department of Energys Guide to Do-It-Yourself Energy Audits
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Does Solar Make Sense In Illinois
Solar makes a lot of sense in Illinois thanks to generous state and utility incentives for homeowners. Illinois offers property tax exemptions for homeowners who invest in solar energy, a robust net metering policy, and solar renewable energy credits . These incentives, combined with the potential for saving on utility bills, make going solar in Illinois the right choice for practically every Illinois homeowner.
*Terms & conditions apply. freedomforever.com/sstermsFreedom Forever is a licensed contractor in all states it operates in. For more information visit freedomforever.com/licenses
Zero down financing options offered by Freedom Forever
Illinois Solar Tax Credits & Incentives
As if solar energy didnt already give you fantastic savings by reducing your electric bill every month, solar PV systems are also eligible to receive several tax incentives including:
- 26% Federal Investment Tax Credit applies to all home solar systems purchased and installed by December 31, 2022.
- Solar Renewable Energy Credit homeowners can earn one sREC per every megawatt-hour of electricity their solar system produces
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Do Solar Farms Harm Birds Or Wildlife
Solar farms do not pose a threat to wildlife. Wildlife studies are an important part of solar development – trained experts study proposed sites to ensure that solar development minimizes impact to wildlife. Solar projects can also provide important habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies that make farmland more productive.
How Much Sun Do Solar Panels Need
Solar panels need direct sunlight to produce the maximum solar output. To maximize the sunlight the solar panels receive, face the panels in a southward direction and install them in an area where they are not shaded by trees or other obstructions.
Just a small amount of shade on a solar panel can affect its power output. Your solar panel cells are connected in a series string, meaning that any cell thats affected by shade can weaken the other cell panels, reducing the overall power level. Before you go solar, youll want to check that you have an area for your solar panel with minimal or no shading , or use a string inverter with MPPT to minimize output loses associated with partial shading.
Our solar professionals can help you determine the best placement for your panels. In addition to our sun hour map, We do also have additional insolation data available for other parts of the world to determine how many peak sun hours you have to go solar. Email us at and give us the location of your solar project. Well help you design your solar power system. You can also call us at 1-800-472-1142.
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Solar Panel Cost By Manufacturer
Another way to break down solar panel price data is by the panel brand. The following table was made using data from the EnergySage Marketplace and tracks the average cost of 6 kW and 10 kW solar panel systems by the brand of solar panel used in the installation project.
Table: cost of solar panels by panel manufacturer
NOTE: These ranges are system prices BEFORE the 26 percent federal tax credit for solar.
The price you pay for a solar panel brand is reflective of panel quality to a degree. For example, systems using SunPower panels see the highest average prices , and SunPower is known for producing well-made, high-efficiency products.
Interestingly, there arent that many outliers when it comes to brand pricing, and most manufacturers generally see similar cost ranges. Its important to keep in mind that when comparing system prices based on panel brands, there are so many factors aside from just panel manufacturer that impact the final system price like installer experience, location, racking equipment, inverter brand, and more.
How Much Will You Save With Solar
The first question youre probably wondering if youre considering going solar is: how much money will you save? And for good reason! Afterall, solar is an investment so youll want to understand your payback period before making any decisions. Most property owners will break even on their solar investment in seven to eight years but as you start exploring your solar options, there are a few key questions you should ask to approximate your personal return on investment:
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Find Out If You Qualify For Illinois Solar Incentives
Buy and install new solar panels in Illinois in 2021, with or without battery storage, and qualify for the 26% federal solar tax credit. The residential ITC drops to 22% in 2023 and ends in 2024.6
Approximate average-sized 5-kilowatt system cost in Illinois: $13,420
Approximate system cost in Illinois after the 26% ITC in 2021: $9,93110
Solar Renewable Energy Credits
Illinoiss Adjustable Block Program lets you earn Solar Renewable Energy Credits for every kilowatt-hour your home solar energy system generates.7
The ABP offers a set price for the purchase of each SREC through 15-year contracts from qualifying solar array projects.7
Solar Investment Property Tax Exemption
A home solar power system should not increase your property taxes according to Illinoiss Property Tax Code. You may have to register with a chief county assessment officer or contact your local assessor to get an assessment for your home solar panels.8
Installing a solar panel system in Illinois could also help you build home value.
Illinois Solar for All Programs
These programs serve low-income households and communities across the state by funding new Illinois solar installations. All vendors approved by Illinois Solar for All are required to offer participants access to solar energy with no up-front costs, whether systems are purchased or leased.9
The household’s total income must be 80% of the Area Median Income or less based on the most recent tax return.9See the income-qualification chart.
Intro To Solar Power In Illinois
The home of OHare International Airport and The Windy City, Illinois is a hub of culture and activity. The relatively flat topography in The Prairie State consists of a good mix of urban, rural and agricultural areas.
Climate in Illinois varies as much as the demography and geography. Snowfall in the northern part of the state, around Lake Michigan, can be heavy, while winters are milder farther south. Summers are humid and range from continental to subtropical in temperature.
Because Illinois is well populated, it also has a strong economy. Hence, the state is a good candidate for solar panel incentives. In fact, major rebates exist, and the Illinois Solar Energy Association will soon offer performance payments to generators of solar power.
One glance at the Swanson Effect graph depicted above clearly shows the drastic drop in solar energy costs since 1977. In the next several years, new technology will further reduce costs. Solar power is less expensive than ever. So whats the scoop on Illinois in particular? Read on to find out.
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You Pay For The Solar Electricity Generated No Matter What
With a PPA, you pay a fixed rate for solar electricity. But thereâs a big difference between a solar PPA bill and the one from your utility company: you donât pay the solar company for how much electricity you use, but how much you generate.
Letâs say that in one month your solar panels generate 500 kWh of electricity, but your house only uses 400 kWh. In the normal case, youâd get a bill for 400 kWh from your utility company.
Not so with a solar PPA. You get billed for the 500 kWh of electricity that the solar panels generated, even though your house used less than that.
The solar system will be grid-connected, and any solar electricity you donât use will be sent into the grid. You will receive a credit for that electricity, but the size of that credit will depend on whether you have net metering or net billing. Because of this, any excess generation could be a financial liability for you.
A system should normally be sized to generate no more than 100% of your annual usage – and many utility companies place restrictions on this – but if you decide to do energy-saving measures such as installing a smart thermostat to make your air conditioning use more efficient, it wonât really benefit you when you have a PPA because your monthly solar bill reflects your generation, not your consumption.
How Much Do Solar Shingles Cost
The cost of solar shingles varies depending on the manufacturer, the size of your home, and how many solar shingles you need to have installed on your roof. Unlike large solar panels, solar shingles are intentionally designed to have the same look and feel of regular shingles, so many may be needed to cover a roof.
Solar shingles are most effective on south-facing rooftops, so you may be able to cover just a portion of your roof, with traditional shingles on the other side. Still, due to their aesthetics and functionality, the installation of solar shingles will have a higher price tag than regular shingles or rooftop solar panels. In fact, the average installation cost for rooftop solar shingles is between $60,000 $75,000, compared to a cost of up to $20,000 or more for traditional rooftop solar depending on the size of the system.
Costs may also vary depending on the labor rates for your local solar shingle roofing company. Although the trend of solar shingles is catching on, there are still fewer roofing companies that can install them.
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