Farmers are quickly adapting to the new form of technology called solar farms. Solar farms are not only economical but also help the environment. A reliable and clean energy source for all, solar farms are now being built all over the world. However, despite the benefits, one must consider the budget before you plan out to have a solar farm of your own.
Since you are here, all related matters, including how much does it cost to build a solar farm, are discussed in this article. All you need is to go through it briefly and then take the most benefit out of the solar farms.
What are solar farms?
Solar farms are also known as photovoltaic power stations and are used to collect solar energy. Solar farms may use concentrating solar systems or photovoltaic panels to make use of the sun’s energy. In other words, it is a large solar array which supplies solar energy to the power grid in the form of electricity.
Also known as “solar parks,” they have been used to provide electricity to thousands of consumers for many years. In simple words, you can call them fossil-fuelled power plants, which are used for generating electricity.
Difference between solar farms and rooftop solar panels
Rooftop solar panels and solar farms are quite different in a number of ways.
Solar farms make use of economies of scale, through which individuals can buy more equipment in a lesser amount.
Unlike rooftop solar panels and commercial solar power systems, solar farms do not have to deal with issues like the shading of trees and the sun’s direction, as they can be placed in an ideal place where these issues do not arise.
Solar farms are generally decentralized and have a large number of solar panels which are mounted in the ground. The surface area of the systems increases as you increase the number of solar panels installed.
Through solar farms, electricity is provided to the electric grid and amounts to a large number of power being utilized by the consumers.
Different types of solar farms
Depending upon the size of the system, solar farms can be divided into two types.
Utility solar farms : Utility-scale solar farms basically provide the energy to a utility, which can then distribute it among either individuals, communities, or towns. The direct customer is the utility hence the scale of utility solar farms is larger than the community farms. The capacity of a utility farm ranges from 1 MW to 2000 MW, which depends upon the scale on which the energy is provided to the utility.
The utility buys the energy through Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) in order to be able to distribute it among individuals. Moreover, some solar utility farms may be owned directly by a large-scale utility. Commercial, residential, or industrial customers can buy power from the utility.
Commercial solar farms : Rooftop solar panels can sometimes become a hassle as homeowners have to go through the process of hefty installation and maintenance. Hence, homeowners can also avail solar energy without having solar panels on the roof of their houses.
This is done through community solar farms, which provide solar power to individuals. Mostly, they range from sizes that are less than 5 MW. To facilitate your small houses, you can even find community solar farms under 100 kW.
How commercial solar farms work is that the customers can get a subscription to have some amount of the solar energy transferred to their houses. A share of the power produced by the solar panels is then delivered to the subscribers who can use it to power their homes. They are also known as “roofless solar panels,” The users do not need to have actual solar panels on their roof.
Cost to build a solar farm
Utility-scale solar farms are usually at least 1 KW. A solar plant that has a capability of producing 1 KW can power up to 200 houses. The cost needed to build a solar farm usually depends upon two main factors: the location and the direct sunlight hours that the location gets per day. The price is somewhere around $1/watt. So if you want to build a solar farm with a capacity of 1MW, you would need about $1M.
However, it is not always fixed. According to the Solar Marketing Insight Report of SEIA, the usual costs fluctuate between $0.82/watt and $1.36/watt. According to these figures, you would need about $820,000 to $1.36 million to build a solar farm of 1 KW capacity.
This cost is relatively lesser than the cost for residential solar, which can cost from $2 to $4 per watt. The solar industry explicitly makes use of the economies of scale. In simple words, you can save up to half of the amount if you switch to solar farms from residential solar panels.
Utilities are rapidly shifting to solar farms because of the low cost and compatibility with other energy resources. Moreover, it is environmental as well in addition to being economical.
How can you build a solar farm
Building a solar farm is a process that requires research and estimation. Therefore, you need to find out some things before you plan to build a solar farm. Some of the fundamental questions that you need to consider in order to get started with the job are:
- How many acres of land is required for the ideal size of your solar farm?
- How much time is required to build a solar panel?
- How many solar panels will you need?
- What is the ideal cost for installation?
- What is your ideal revenue from the plant?
- How will the electrical connection be handled?
- How will you maintain the power plant?
After doing in-depth research on all of these things, you can build a solar farm of a capacity that suits your needs.
The cost estimate to build a solar farm depends on several factors, and when you analyze those, only then you can give an idea of the cost. Whatever it is, after you have read this article, you will be able to analyze the aspects yourself, and then you can calculate the cost to build a solar farm.