Report: Agricultural Land Presents Big Opportunity For Solar Energy Projects


Smaller projects under 500 kW constitute 40% of the PV projects currently under way in the U.S., finds a new report from NPD Solarbuzz. According to the report, more than 1,300 solar projects fall between 50 kW and 500 kW, representing a cumulative capacity of about 200 MW.

Although many of these installations are built on schools, municipal buildings, zoos, hospitals and retail stores, they are increasingly being installed on agricultural land. U.S. land that had previously been utilized for agricultural purposes is now being used for renewable energy projects when this presents a more profitable financial option, the report notes.

Additionally, some colleges have recently started using sheep to maintain the grass under PV arrays, and a test market is currently being constructed in North Carolina for a 4 MW installation to be used as a sheep and lamb farm and monitored for herd management.

"While PV arrays are often criticized for taking land away from agriculture and farming, the combination of sheep farming and PV power generation is a great solution in many areas, as farmers can benefit from two sources of income," explains NPD Solarbuzz analyst Christine Beadle." And while the concept of sheep herding in the same field as a PV array is still in its infancy, it certainly shows a great deal of promise."

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