How Much Does It Cost To Set Up A Solar Farm
Installation costs are often quoted at between $0.80 and $1.36 per solar watt installed, but Im not sure where these figures come from. Its generally known that solar farm installation costs are less then half than domestic solar costs, which are well under $3/solar watt in the US.
Its probably safe to assume $1/watt as an average figure, making our calculation easier. For a solar farm minimum size of 1mW it will cost about $1 million for the physical installation of panels and all associated equipment.
Basic cost of setting up equipment for a 1mW solar farm = $1 million.
Add another 15% to 20% to this if single axis solar tracking equipment is needed to maximize output. Its rare to have dual-axis tracking on solar farms due to the poorer ROI associated with it.
Solar farm installation cost including single-axis sun tracking = $1.2 million
Associated permits and licenses = $5000
Hook up to grid = $3000 to $10000 .
Software to coordinate and manage solar strings = $3000
Ongoing maintenance = $20/kw x 10000kW = $20000/year
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Should I Put A Solar Farm On My Land
There are many benefits to getting a solar farm on your land, as it allows you to get into renewable energy and reduce your carbon footprint on the environment. Whatever your reasons to get a solar farm on your land, you should ensure that you do proper research on the solar developer because thats the only way you will be able to find suitable candidates for your solar farm.
Once you have decided that your spare land will turn into a solar farm, you should contact solar developers who may be interested in turning your land into a solar farm. Sit down with them and discuss your options, the kind of money you will make by leasing your land to a solar developer, and what options they present you with.
Producing Solar Power For Decades
When leasing your land for solar, the project sends power directly into the grid, which often becomes a community solar project with discounted energy for local businesses and residents within the utilitys service region.
The landowner has no obligations to maintain the solar farm during its lifecycle, and the system will continue to operate with minimal interventions. On a semi-annual basis, the operator will visit to perform routine maintenance of the solar farm with no impact to the farmer.
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Solar Farm Cost Per Acre
How much does it cost to set up a solar farm? The initial cost required to start up this business did vary. The PV type installed, the size, the installer, locations, availability of sunlight and the company to supply the panels are the factors that will affect the cost of starting a solar farm.
But on average, a solar farm is expected to generate at least 1Megawatt which will be capable of serving more than 200 households. With that in mind, the general installation for a 1MW could be assumed to cost $1 million.
As noted initially, a solar farm is capital intensive, therefore starting a solar farm might require that you seek for grants from governments or private sources. Note that your business model must be impressive, if your business model is appealing, a large amount of money might be given from investors. In fact, Banks may be interested to offer traditional business loans for starting up.
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Typography For Solar Farms
Following topography, the next variable solar developers will consider whether or not a site has significant floodplain or wetland issues. Solar farm land requirements say they cannot be constructed within a 100- or 500-year floodplain, and there cannot be any wetlands in the proposed farm area. If landowners are not sure if they have wetland or floodplain limitations on their site or think the maps provided by federal agencies are incorrect, developers can work with the appropriate agencies to verify the actual hazard boundaries. Developers have found ways to build around these hazards in the past. However, it is often a non-starter for project development.
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Age Of Your Solar Panels Plays A Role In Their Productivity
Technology is continually changing, and that means youve got to be careful when buying solar panels. You might think that buying older panels is a wise investment, but in the long run, it could cost you money. The increases in solar productivity happen exponentially, and panels that are a few years old will not produce the same amount of electricity as new ones will.
Do your homework and ask yourself if buying older panels is worth the investment. Its probably only a good idea to buy previously owned solar panels if you can purchase them at a steep discount. Deal directly with the manufacturer and see what kind of deals they can give you before going the route of buying second-hand panels.
How To Choose The Right Solar System For Your Farm
When you are choosing a solar system for your farm, there are a few things you need to consider. The first is how much energy you need. You need to make sure the solar system you choose can generate enough energy to meet your needs of consumption. The second thing to consider is the type of sunlight your farm receives. Not all solar systems are the same, and some are better suited for certain types of light from the sun. The last thing to consider is your budget. Make sure you find a solar system that fits within your budget.
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Will Solar Panels Contaminate My Soil
No! Solar panels will not contaminate your soil. In fact, solar panels can actually help to improve the quality of your soil. They do this by providing a shaded area underneath the panels where manure and other organic materials can decompose. This helps to create a healthy soil environment and increase the fertility of your land.
Can I Put A Solar Farm On My Land
You can put a small-scale solar farm on your land, but it will not be able to produce enough power for your use.
You would need at least eight acres of land to even begin building a modest 200 kW plant with each acre covering about 4,000 square feet.
Solar panels typically cover the ground area only, with the rest being areas to walk on with access roads and a small array of machinery.
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How Many Solar Panels Per Acre
It is very difficult to determine exactly how many solar panels fit on an acre because several factors come into play.
This includes the size of the solar panel, climate, building codes, and other local rules.
The best source for information would be your county or city sustainable energy office or equivalent agency.
You can also find information about commercial applications from those companies that install solar panels.
In general, an acre of land can produce between 4 and 8 megawatts per year. This amount will vary depending on climate, building codes, and other local restrictions, and which type of equipment is used photovoltaic or solar thermal.
Solar PV panels are usually rated at 200 watts each with a potential of generating about 20 to 26 percent of the maximum solar energy hitting it in a year.
A non-tracking panel array can occupy 4,000 square feet and produce up to 940 watts per hour per day on average throughout the year.
It would take about 28 such panels to cover an acre.
Land Needs For Wind Solar Dwarf Nuclear Plants Footprint
- A 1,000-megawatt nuclear facility needs just over one square mile
- Intermittent wind and solar need much more area to generate the same power
- No U.S. wind or solar facility generates as much as the average nuclear plant
Wind farms require up to 360 times as much land area to produce the same amount of electricity as a nuclear energy facility, a Nuclear Energy Institute analysis has found. Solar photovoltaic facilities require up to 75 times the land area.
A 2015 report, Land Requirements for Carbon-Free Technologies, compared the land area that various types of electricity generation facilities would require to produce the same amount of electricity as a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in a year. The results highlight the exemplary performance reliability of nuclear energy facilities as well as the very high energy density of nuclear fuel.
A nuclear energy facility has a small area footprint, requiring about 1.3 square miles per 1,000 megawatts of installed capacity. This figure is based on the median land area of the 59 nuclear plant sites in the United States. In addition, nuclear energy facilities have an average capacity factor of 90 percent, much higher than intermittent sources like wind and solar.
A solar PV facility must have an installed capacity of 3,300 MW and 5,400 MW to match a 1,000-MW nuclear facilitys output, requiring between 45 and 75 square miles.
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Utility Scale Solar Solutions
When you lease your land for a solar farm, you can gain a lot from leasing it for a utility scale project. What is a utility scale solar project? Its a solar project where a utility company leases your land to generate solar energy and return it to the electrical grid. Then the grid distributes that renewable energy to the surrounding community. Verogy can work with you to lease your land to nearby utility companies that want to generate solar energy for their consumers. We make sure you generate reliable income through your land, and we manage and maintain the solar farm throughout its lifespan, so you dont have to take care of it. We simply install the solar panels on your land, and then you reap the benefits of that utility scale solution.
Understand The Capital And Operating Costs
Solar farm costs are one of the biggest boundaries toward further adoption. What is the cost of a solar farm per acre? Usually, the capital cost is $0.82-0.95 per watt for utility farms.
Consider the aforementioned value of 285.71 MWh/year for one acre. This amount is equivalent to:
285.71 MW-hyr*1365 yrday*124 dayh=0.03262 MW=32.62 kW=32,620 W
At this rate, you will pay between $26,748.40 and $30,989 for solar panels per acre. You will also need to pay for the other components, such as racking equipment, inverters, batteries, transformers, and wiring.
Overall, you are likely to pay $400,000-$500,000 per 1 acre solar farm.
For the most part, solar farms do not require much maintenance. On average, you will need to pay between $15-$25/kW/yr.
For one acre, that amounts to about $489.30-$815.50 annually.
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How Much Does It Cost To Build A Solar Farm
The cost of Solar Farms varies depending on the size of the farm.
Building a small farm with just a few hundred panels is entirely different from building a large farm that can produce hundreds of megawatts daily.
The expenses involved in construction include buying land, setting up the infrastructure, and bringing it to the power generating stage.
It may take several years before a Solar Farm can generate steady income.
The costs also depend on the government regulation in that country, among other factors.
But in general, A 1-megawatt solar plant can supply power to as many as 200 homes, which costs $1 million for the installation.
If you were thinking of residential installations in your town and they range anywhere between $3 4 per watt then this may seem like a steal!
Also, The cost of solar power has been plummeting over the past few years, and there are now many companies that will allow you to lease your land for a low monthly fee.
A 1-megawatt plant requires around 5 acres worth $500 per month not including any additional fees or value that may be attached .
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Release The Proposals To Individuals And Firms
Several individuals or firms may inquire about the terms of service while the construction is ongoing. Once the solar farm structure is wholly constructed, you could contact industries, firms, and individuals and discuss the services you offer.
Aside from these, its crucial to tackle the service costs and payment options of utilizing your solar farm business power.
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Local Regulations & Restrictions
Finally, and most importantly, the utility scale solar development industry on a state level is dictated by regulation and subsidized programs. Its the reason that one area could be booming and just over the state lines, there is nothing happening. These programs often specify which types of projects will qualify either DG or Transmission Scale. So, depending on your area, the only viable project may be one or the other.
If you would like to learn more about the solar activity in your area please feel free to contact us and well perform a free site review of your property.
About The Author
- Nathan Fabrick
- EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
- Nathan is an expert in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage with a focus on site selection, expansion strategies, and contract negotiations. He brings a diverse background as well as a high degree of passion, enthusiasm and diligence to projects.
The Biggest Solar Farm In The United States
Solar Star in Kern and LA Counties, California is currently the largest solar farm in the US. It’s been the biggest one in the country since its completion back in 2015.
It has an installed capacity to produce 579 MW energy, which is enough to power over 250,000 homes or about 142 football fields. It comprises 1.7 million separate solar panels, which cover a total area of 3,200 acres of land.
While the Solar Star was also the biggest solar farm in the world when it launched, it has long been superseded by bigger solar farms in other parts of the world. It is also set to be eclipsed by a solar farm under construction here in the US the Gemini solar farm.
Solar Star is located less an hour-and-a-halfs drive from Los Angeles and provides electricity to the Southern California Edison power grid. Image source: PVTech
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Selecting Land For Solar Farming
We seek out suitable land for solar farming and do a preliminary screening for proximity to substations and three-phase power lines, among numerous other factors. Although there is a preference for cleared, level land, we find creative, smart solutions to many challenging terrains.
Unlike brokers or land agents, we only offer leases for land we are committed to develop for a solar project and have thoroughly assessed. An OYA Origination Specialist will walk through the land lease or purchase agreements with you and in some cases, does a site visit.
How Much Do Solar Farm Leases Pay
Landowners who rent out their land for a solar farm can earn between $250 and $3,000 per acre a year, according to top solar land lease websites.
This is an option for those who dont want to build their own solar farm, but rather lend out their property to an external solar developer.
You might be wondering why theres such a big range of lease rates. Its because there are many different factors based on where you area which can affect the going price for a land leases these include:
- Land prices in your area
- Electricity transmission infrastructure near your land
- Substitute uses of your land
- Demand for renewable energy in your state
- State and municipal incentives to solar farm operators
In short, the amount you can earn by leasing out your land for a solar farm really depends on market conditions in your area.
Agreements are generally long-term, between 15 and 20 years, with options to extend for as long as 50 years. They also include annual escalators 1.5 to 2.5% to account for inflation.
Some developers even offer to pay for the leases as a large upfront payment.
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What Are The Largest Solar Farms
The solar industry is rapidly expanding, and solar farms are being built bigger and bigger.
This is due in part to the improved economics of solar energy generation and the desire of governments to switch to renewable energy to help with climate change.
Currently, the largest solar farm in the United States is called the Solar Star in Kern and LA Counties, California.
Its been the biggest one in the country since its completion in 2015.
Its installed capacity allows it to produce 579 MW of energy, which is enough to power over 250,000 homes .
It comprises 1.7 million separate solar panels.
The Solar Star will soon be surpassed by the Gemini Solar Farm.
This is a $1 billion project currently under construction in the Moapa Desert, which is outside Las Vegas.
It will utilize the Nevada sunshine to generate 690 MW of electricity .
Once its complete, it will become the largest solar farm in the US.
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.
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