Solar farms are the large-scale application of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) installations used to generate electricity.
They often cover large areas of land (between 1 and 100 acres) and therefore they are usually developed in rural locations. Approximately 25 acres of land is required for every 5 megawatts (MW) of installation, enough to power 1,515 homes. Ground mounted Solar Farms require planning permission & electricity grid consent, both of which Atlantic Renewables provide as part of our service.
The most obvious benefit of a solar farm is environmental, with the sun being a clean renewable source of energy. Farming brings a multitude of risks. Farmers often face far too frequent disease epidemics to their animals.
Whilst some crops may have a poor yield and livestock prices may fluctuate. Whereas Solar has zero running costs, provides a stable 20 year financial income, whilst allowing for the land to still be used for crops and grazing cattle. The financial rewards make solar an ideal investment for landowners and farmers alike.
Whether self-financed or not, there are numerous ways to finance solar farming, with private loans and banks ready to finance projects. Atlantic Renewables work with approved lenders who can help finance your scheme. As Solar Panel prices are now affordable to the masses, these farms could well be the future of the world’s energy sources
Solar Farm Facts
- They generate electricity locally and feed into the local electricity grid using a free source of energy (the sun) to generate electricity on bright cloudy days as well as in direct sunlight.
- They represent time-limited, reversible land use and provide an increased, diversified and stable source of income for landowners
- If 10,000MW of solar was installed on the ground, it would only use 0.1% of UK agricultural land area, whilst being able to generate enough electricity for over 3 million homes.
- There are no moving parts, and maintenance is minimal
- There is no by-product or waste generated, except during manufacturing or dismantling
- They have lower visual and environmental impacts than other forms of power generation
- Renewables give the customer the choice of buying green electricity and reduce reliance on scarce fossil fuels
Solar Farms and Agricultural Use
- The installation of a solar farm does not mean the land will lose its agricultural use because about 70% of a solar farm is still open grassland
- The wide grassy avenues between the rows of panels create a fantastic opportunity to keep the land in agricultural production by grazing smaller livestock.
- As the sunlight tracks across the farm throughout the day, the panels create a similar shading effect to a tree. The area underneath the panels is still grassy and accessible and the panels create valuable areas of shelter during harsh weather conditions
- All cabling is weatherproofed and attached securely to the structure, out of the reach of grazing animals.
- The panels are mounted on a framework, which sets them at least 700mm above the ground, allowing livestock to graze comfortably underneath.
- Solar farms are one of the most passive energy technologies to implement and can sit happily amongst wildlife and grazing animals. Solar panels emit no noise or pollution.
- At the end of the solar farm’s life, the steel foundations are pulled out of the ground easily with no lasting damage to the land.