Leasing Your Land For A Solar Farm
Lease rates vary by location but lies somewhere between $500 to $2300 per acre per year. The higher lease prices will be found in states like California, Texas and Nevada.
Assuming land being leased for a solar farm in Nevada at $2300 per acre, then a 10 acre piece of land will bring $23000 profit per year.
Occupations In Solar Power Engineering
Engineers apply the principles of science and mathematics to develop economical solutions to technical problems. Their work is the link between scientific research and commercial applications. Many engineers specify precise functional requirements, and then design, test, and integrate components to produce designs for new products. After the design phase, engineers are responsible for evaluating a design’s effectiveness, cost, reliability, and safety. Engineers use computers extensively to produce and analyze designs, and for simulating and testing solar energy systems. Computers are also necessary for monitoring quality control processes. Computer software developers design the software and other systems needed to manufacture solar components, manage the production of solar panels, and control some solar generating systems.
Most engineers work in offices, laboratories, or industrial plants. Engineers are typically employed by manufacturers of solar equipment and may travel frequently to different worksites, including to plants in Asia and Europe.
Engineers are one of the most sought-after occupations by employers in the solar power industry. According to the Solar Foundation, 53 percent of manufacturing firms reported difficulty in hiring qualified engineers in 2010.
Software developers typically have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related discipline, combined with experience in computer programming and software design.
Solar Farms: Photovoltaic Pv Vs Solar Thermal
Most early solar farms were built using solar thermal technology. Thermal solar farms use a series of mirrors to concentrate the suns heat onto a central column that uses the high temperature to create steam, which then spins a turbine to make electricity
Stationary vs Tracking
Solar farms that use PV technology may install stationary or rotating panels in rows. The more panels, the more space is needed – and the more electricity is generated.
Thermal solar farms install collectors – mirrors , dishes, reflectors and troughs – that move to track the suns path across the sky.
Solar Farm Site Assessment
A PV solar farm can range from a few acres to hundreds of acres in size. They can be found across the country.
A thermal solar farm can be small but most are large – in the thousands of acres. Most are found in desert areas.
Soil composition, water access, and proximity to power lines and substations all play a part in the selection of a site. Zoning issues affect the location of solar farms. Landowners legal rights to contract for long terms can influence site selection between private and federally owned land.
Solar Farm Financing options
Solar Farm Incentives
Rebates and tax credits can help defray the costs of solar farm installation. Feed-in tariffs and solar renewable energy certificates can help make the operation of a solar farm profitable.
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How Much Land Do We Need
We usually require plots of at least 30 to 40 acres but can occasionally bundle land together from neighboring landowners if you have smaller parcels of land. Although 100-plus acre solar panel arrays generate considerably more energy, 30 to 40 acres allow us to build 5 MW solar farms. The power we collect is then connected to the grid and redistributed.
Solar farms in New York state are limited to 5 MW with a subscription program, as capacity on the grid is filling up fast. However, states like Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Virginia currently have more capacity and may be able to accommodate more or larger solar projects.
Building a solar farm takes anywhere from 6 to 12 months, although timelines may be affected by COVID-19. We handle all of the local and municipal permitting and approval processes and cover all of the expenses. We also manage its maintenance and operation through our network of local subcontractors, which only require several visits per year.
Solar Farm Revenue Per Acre
Referring to the revenue generated by the entire solar farm, divided by the number of acres on the farm. As discussed, revenue depends largely on the initial investment costs, the electricity prices at which the energy generated it sold to consumers, and available incentives, credits, and tax breaks.
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How Do You Remove Solar Panels
Believe it or not, one of most tedious part of the whole solar panel process is removal.
If youre deciding to start a solar farm, then youll want to put solar panel removal in the contact with the solar company.
That way, youve already determined who is responsible for the removal of the panels and the cost of the removal at the end of their life.
Covering the dismantling costs early in the contract will protect the landowner from any additional costs that may be associated with the removal process.
Occupations In Manufacturing For Solar Power
Manufacturing in the solar industry focuses on three technologies: concentrating solar power , photovoltaic solar power, and solar water heating. However, the vast majority of solar manufacturing firms focus mainly on photovoltaic solar power and producing photovoltaic panels. The production process for photovoltaic panels is more complex than for CSP components, and it involves complicated electronics. Making photovoltaic panels requires the work of many skilled workers, including semiconductor processors, computer-controlled machine tool operators, glaziers, and coating and painting workers. The manufacture of CSP mirrors includes many of the same occupations.
Semiconductor processors are workers who oversee the manufacturing process of solar cells. Semiconductors are unique substances, which act as either conductors or insulators of electricity, depending on the conditions. Semiconductor processors turn semiconductors into photovoltaic cells. The process begins with the production of cylinders of silicon or other semiconducting materials, which are called ingots. The ingots are sliced into thin wafers using automated equipment, and are sometimes polished. The wafers are then connected to metal strips and placed into the cells. These cells are then arranged into larger solar panels.
Industrial production managers are typically required to have college degrees in business administration, management, industrial technology, or engineering.
What Happens During A Typical Day At A Solar Farm Business
After setup, a solar farm requires little work on your part. The utility company to which you lease the land will require full access to the property through a dedicated access road so its employees and construction crews may enter on an as-needed basis. Your role involves ensuring the land remains mowed and clean of debris. You also must maintain the fencing around your property to prevent wild animals and trespassers from entering.
What To Consider Before Building A Solar Farm
The criteria for installing a solar farm varies by state and local laws, such as setback requirements. Various federal, state, and local agencies may need to give approval for a project to move forward. Often, permitting and siting can take three to five years.
Typically, solar farms are located on privately held property. The amount of necessary land varies by the capacity of the project but commonly ranges between several acres of land to multiple square kilometers for very large projects. Solar farms need to be located near three-phase power and a transmission substation. Gaining a place in the utility queue is critical for utility interconnection and it sometimes requires upgrading the electric grid.
Ideally, the property for a solar project is relatively flat and cleared, and with minimal wetlands. For example, a solar farm on a north-facing slope would get less usable sunlight, impacting production. Sometimes, PV farms are constructed adjacent to working farmland because they pose no threat to livestock or crops.
Often, solar farm developers enter into PPAs with off-takers for power from a project. Although the owner of the solar farm and not the off-takers receive the solar tax incentives, off-takers benefit from clean power and do not have maintenance responsibilities.
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Where Does A Solar Engineer Work
Most solar engineers work in offices, but may also travel frequently to different work sites, including overseas locations. They often must climb ladders onto rooftops to inspect installations, and may need to carry heavy loads for short distances.
According to the Solar Foundation, California is by far the leading state for solar jobs in general, with over 10,000 solar jobs as of 2013. New Mexico offers the second highest number of solar jobs. New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts are also home to relatively high numbers of jobs in the solar industry.
Getting A Solar Engineering Degree
A bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or electrical engineering is typically required for solar engineering positions. In some areas, more advanced certification could be required. Degrees in industrial engineering, chemical engineering, and computer software engineering may also be helpful.
Many jobs require Professional Engineer or Engineer in Training licensure. Licensure generally requires:
- A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
- A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering exam
- Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
- A passing score on the Professional Engineering exam
College graduates may take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam immediately. Engineers who pass this exam are called engineers in training or engineer interns . After gaining four years of work experience, EITs and EIs can go on to take the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam to qualify for licensure.
Several states require engineers to participate in professional development activities in order to keep their licenses. Most states recognize licensure from other states, as long as that state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements.
Because solar engineers must consult with clients, create technical reports, and write emails, they should also have good communication skills.
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
Solar Farms Increase Biodiversity
While creating a solar farm, there are certain things that need to be considered. Firstly, the areas near or underneath the solar panels must be fertile. Various local wildflowers, grass and other plant seeds are sown in the soil, according to the respective seasons. Moreover, appropriate growth conditions are provided to the fields for increasing versatility and diversity of plants.
Secondly, areas for ponds and lakes are also constructed to offer convenient habitat for aquatic birds and animals. Even bird and bat boxes are formed at different locations.
Thirdly, sites for beehives are also selected for both honey and solitary bees.
Lastly, proper hibernacula management is done to provide shelter to refugee birds and animals that are seeking a proper habitat. With the help of all these measures and different procedures, farmers can help in the growth of animals and plants in future.
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How Many Acres Do You Need For A Solar Farm
Solar installations benefit for scaling up and the initial capital cost tends to reduce the bigger the farm. In general, you should aim at a minimum installation size of 1mW installed solar.
Depending on the installer, 1mW of solar panels needs about 4 acres of land. The table below shows the annual energy produced in various states, according to the irradiance values:
Starting Your Own Solar Farm
Renewable energy increased 575% in the last 4 years in New York City, with solar panels remaining one of the leading sources New Yorkers rely on for their clean energy. Some homes can’t install solar due to roof or shade issues, thus creating a space in the market for solar farms. Solar farms are becoming popular among people in this niche who have issues installing solar or just generally dislike the look of solar panels.
Solar farms are made up of acres of solar panels leased by landowners to people who do not want, or are unable to put, solar panels on their own homes. Leasing your land for solar can potentially be a fruitful business that adds to yearly revenue if the land is receiving a lot of sunlight. However, there are several key factors to understand before jumping into a solar farm.
Things to consider before starting a solar farm:
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How Long Does The Process Take When Getting A Land Lease For A Solar Farm And What Does It Involve
The process of developing solar on leased land requires a few steps before a project is operational. Reputable solar developers will take the time to go through this process with landowners to make sure they know what it will require. The process goes like this:
- Selecting and assessing the land: proximity to a three-phase power line and substation, and the terrain are all factors we look at when assessing your land and before we offer a lease.
- Planning the location and clarifying the impacts on property
- Permitting and ensuring that the land can be built on and does not break any rules or environmental regulations
- Building and installing the solar farm, which can take three months to a year
- Connecting to the grid and generating clean power for the next 25 years.
This whole process takes some time overall, but through all five steps your solar developer should be keeping in touch with you, updating you if necessary, and ensuring that everyone is comfortable and on the same page.
What is it really like to go through construction of a solar panel project? Watch the video and hear first-hand from one of our landowners in Jefferson County, New York
Discuss With An Agent To Know The Best Insurance Policies For You
Consider insurance protection of your photovoltaic systems, in which coverage is provided for unanticipated physical damage and loss of insured property due to theft, burglary, robbery or pilferage. Insurance covers in particular damage caused by:
- Handling error, clumsiness or malicious intent by third parties
- A short circuit, excess current or an electrical surge
- Failure of measuring, regulating or safety devices
- Insufficient water, oil or lubricant
- Excess pressure or low pressure
- Fire, lightning strike, explosion
- Storm, hail, frost, ice drift, flooding or snow load
- Damage caused by animals
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How To Start A Solar Farm
The solar farm industry set new records for capacity in 2021. Solar farms were growing faster than other sources of energy, including wind farms and natural gas projects. In 2020, the solar industry was the number one type of new utility.
The cost of installing solar panels has been steadily decreasing, as technology catches up to the solar energy projects trend. Solar farms are emissions free, making solar energy a popular choice for renewable energy.
Are you thinking of starting your own solar farm? Weve got the information you need.
Step : Define Your Brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren’t feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we’ll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.
How to promote & market a solar farm business
Solar farmers should proactively target potential clients with printed materials that outline the services they offer. They also should place ads in relevant online and print publications as well as maintain a strong social media presence to effectively spread the word about their business. Additionally, solar farm owners should consider attending local and international conventions, expos, and business fairs.
How to keep customers coming back
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
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Are There Ongoing Costs For A Solar Farm Business
Yes. Some of the ongoing costs for your solar farm business include insurance, financial advisor and lawyer fees, mortgage, licensing, and property taxes. Investors providing extra services aside from land leasing will also need to consider travel expenses, payroll costs, as well as higher insurance expenditures.
How Much Do Solar Farm Leases Pay
As a landowner, you may choose to rent out your solar farm and earn money.
This option is best for those who dont want to build their own farm but would rather lend out their property to an external solar farm developer.
If this is something you choose to do, you can earn between $250 and $3,000 per acre a year.
The exact amount will depend on what you negotiate and codify in the leasing agreement.
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