The Cost of Solar Panels Has Decreased – Creating Opportunities for Farmers
As solar panel manufacturing has ramped up around the world, prices have declined dramatically. The long-term price implications suggest that solar will be the cheapest form of energy in all markets, it is only a matter of time. In fact, it already is the cheapest electric power in many locations. This points to the opportunity that solar presents for farmers.
Only the Sun and Space Needed for Solar
Most basically, generating solar energy requires the sun, solar equipment, and the space to locate that equipment. Farmers own, control, or work more space (land) than any other profession. Whether the under-utilized space is rooftops, marginal farmland, or other unused land area, considering solar energy for those spaces can generate significant benefits for farmers and ranchers.
Reduced Energy Costs and Tax Credits
The first benefit of owning solar is reducing energy costs. Solar panel systems produce electricity for over 30 years with modest maintenance. They have warranties that last for 30 years as well, so there is comfort in knowing that the long-term investment is well worth it. The upfront cost of purchasing a solar system is offset by the 26% federal investment tax credit, depreciation tax benefit, and grants for renewable energy.
Over time, energy savings on utility bills will pay off the remaining balance of the system. Payback typically ranges from 5-10 years depending on system size and location. After the initial time period, the energy produced will be extremely low-cost for the remainder of its life. This can result in a levelized cost of energy that is over 50% lower than what farmers and individuals are paying now.
Farms and Ranches Can Benefit from Additional Revenue Streams
While reducing energy costs is an initial objective, some farmers have generated lease revenue or sold power to others using under-utilized land on their farm. For example, a utility provider may be looking to increase the amount of renewable energy in their portfolio by installing their own solar array. Land near a substation in utility territory is an ideal location for solar – and farmers and ranchers can benefit accordingly by leasing that land.
The ability to generate lease revenue or sell power to others is highly dependent on location and utility providers. There are many potential scenarios where farmers and ranchers can benefit, so exploring solar provides a better understanding of available options. Revenue diversification from solar, like the examples above, is an opportunity to strengthen farm economics.
To learn more about what is possible, follow this link HERE for information about a Massachusetts-based dairy farmer whose farm nets $150,000 a year from solar.
What Does the Process of Exploring Solar Look Like?
Determining whether solar is the right move for farmers and ranchers is straightforward. It should only take a matter of a few weeks from start to finish. Our partner, Jordan Energy will want to review the last 12-months of energy bills and conduct an initial conversation are enough to generate a preliminary analysis and quote. Then, solar design can be refined based on details from a site visit and further input. The next step is a finalized design and discussing financing options. Once a contract is signed, the formal installation process starts with permitting, utility interconnection, and construction before your solar system starts generating electricity.
Our Partner – Jordan Energy
AGPROfessionals is continually looking for opportunities for our dairy partners to advance in technologies and the newest innovations. AGPROfessionals is excited to work with Jordan Energy to bring solar innovations to the dairy industry.
Jordan Energy is a solar developer and financier with experience supporting national solar programs and partnerships in more than 20 states. Jordan Energy has partnered with Dairy Farmers of America to bring solar opportunities to the dairy industry.
If you would like to start a one-on-one dialogue about solar opportunities, reach out to Bill Jordan, Jordan Energy 646-648-3772
or, AGPROfessionals, 970-535-9318.
Link to Jordan Energy website HERE