The American solar and wind industry is booming globally. The record-breaking performance of the renewable energy industry brings down costs without compromising reliability.
Despite multiple reasons to choose promising clean energy, the strongest one is that it provides replacement of fossil fuels, the major producer of carbon emission and other pollution. With this read, we will take you on the ride to explore part and partial of solar farms with their development and innovation.
What Is A Solar Farm?
Expansion of renewable energy is flourishing with the increase in innovation to capture clean energy. Consequently, the solar sector has observed 49% of the average annual growth rate.
Solar farms or solar fields are large-scale solar installations that generate electricity for commercial purposes. The extensive collection of Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels generates electricity directly from the Sun, and this panel creates a direct electric current.
Large solar panels can be built in a few months and are referred to a vast area with multiple panels.
Some solar farms supply electricity to local or nearby users, and others supply power to companies. These power plants provide reliable, safe, and long-term renewable energy.
Renewable energy is often referred to as a major energy source for the U.S generation and is prioritized for both small and large scale. However, according to the geographical and financial criteria, solar fits well in security, reliability and is user-friendly and affordable.
Types Of The Solar Farm
The Sun has immense energy potential, and the new solar technology can meet global energy demand and replace fossil fuels. Additionally, the solar industry’s rapid growth has created space for more adaptation, research, and development over the past decade.
Although there are primarily rooftop solar panels in the United States, solar farms are often referred to as future investment which comes with the best utilization of property, especially the barren land.
Also, it increases the production of cleaner energy and creates healthier communities with budget-friendly energy.
Solar farms can be broadly classified into-
1. Utility Scale
2. Distributed generation
Utility-Scale Solar Farm
This type of solar installation scales up to 1 GW concerning the area they cover. They have been successfully generating reliable and affordable clean energy for a long time.
As the name describes, energy generated by these solar farms is sold to utility buyers through a power purchase environment (PPA). After this, utility companies or utility-based solar farms can distribute the energy to commercial, community, or residential.
As the electricity is sold to utility buyers, not the end-use customer, these solar plants benefit during the peak demand when there is a major blackout, or fossil fuel power gets expensive.
The utility-scale solar farms use various solar technologies and are designed to store energy to maintain the power supply. Also, with the backup power, this field is creating jobs across multiple areas from R&D to manufacturing, technical to mechanical.
According to the Solar Industries Association (SEIA), more than 37,000 megawatts of utility-scale projects are operating. Considering the data by IEA, solar energy is expected to reach 1.5 TW of total capacity by 2025.
Distributed Generation Solar Farm
Distributed generation is when solar farms or solar power is installed to generate electricity near where it will be utilized. It is also known as on-site generation and comes with its unique benefits and challenges.
It is mainly utilized for on-site consumption and interconnects with low voltage transformers. Distributed generation benefits with greater flexibility and adaptability in energy infrastructure and is closer to the end-user.
The U.S has more than 12 million distributed generation units, and programs like community solar allow access to clean energy. However, these solar farms can range anywhere from a small rooftop to a vast area. Large distributed generation projects can improve with fund programs and connect to the existing income grid.
Microgrids Solar Farm
Microgrids are small-scale electrical grid that generates clean energy directly for a community or group of users. This system generates energy from the Sun and distributes it to the community.
Microgrids can operate while the main grid is down; they disconnect from the local grid and strengthen grid resilience. However, older Microgrids used to work on diesel, but with the improvised version, they are now powered by green technology as well.
It offers many benefits, and innovative new designs come with battery storage. This feature makes the microgrid capable of working in severe weather and when any outage occurs.
This is clean, stable, and efficient energy that offers expansion on state and country levels. As technology matures, microgrids are proving to be a vital asset to the community.
Requirements To Build A Solar Farm
The solar farm requires at least 5 to 7 acres of land to install solar panels. Vast areas of land can be used for solar farms, and it is the best utilization of barren lands.
Also, this increases the value of the property and makes you choose clean energy with zero carbon emission. However, the land requirement depends on solar panels’ production requirements and efficiency or the technology you install.
Licenses and Permits
You will need some licenses and permits to start the solar farm. Also, there will be legal registration with the government for your solar farm. Solar farm owners can expect a return on investment payment in 8-9 years.
Mandatory permits like operating agreements, insurance policy, land conversion certificate, contract labor license.
Efficient solar technology can work like magic if the geographical location is as required. The choice of location can affect the cost, production, and quality of energy. After all the research and planning, Optimum sunlight, grid infrastructure, demand, and lease rate need to be finalized.
Solar Farms: Pros and Cons
With innovative technology, it is becoming easier to harness power and extract clean energy. Renewable energy production comes with profitable potentials and helps overcome shortcomings like massive power blackouts due to natural disasters or other calamities.
1. Sustainable – This is a significant power production that helps in limiting the utilization of non-renewable resources. You can choose not to rely on any geological resources by producing and earning renewable resources like solar farms.
2. Low maintenance – Edmond Becquerel, a young physicist working in France, discovered the PV effect; this is the process that produces an electric current when exposed to radiant energy. Additionally, it requires minimal care after installation. You can plan occasional cleaning of solar panels for high efficiency.
3. Zero Noise Pollution – Solar equipment and technologies are noise pollution-free. There are no moving parts, there is hardly any noise, and it causes minimal disturbance to the environment.
4. Eco-friendly – It is the cleanest and reliable energy source that produces power without polluting water or land. Zero carbon emissions is an efficient and environmentally friendly way to manufacture and use power. They are also an addition as surplus power to the main grid.
5. Wildlife – The land around and in a solar farm works as a convenient environment as a habitat for wildlife and plants. Generally, the grasslands can be used as a grazing field, and you can start various animal welfare or farming projects nearby.
6. Profitability – Solar farms give a great return and are a good investment; you can save on electricity bills as well. The government also offers cost reductions, tax discounts, and other incentives to promote solar farming.
1. Solar farm needs a vast area of land and multiple solar panels to produce the maximum amount of electricity. This requires mandatory legal permission and is mostly developed in rural areas.
2. It is initially an expensive project as it requires efficient solar panels, installation, regular monitoring, and maintenance.
3. Dependency on weather can be a major issue. Although there are storage options and battery backups, panels continuously generate power. It is advisable to choose a sunny region for efficient working and power production.
4. There are some underlying impacts on the environment, like solar panels’ waste. However, technological development is trying to improvise the recycling process for solar equipment to minimize its harmful effect on the environment.
5. It anyways confirms the betterment of land and community via installing renewable energy at a large scale, but in some cases, electromagnetic radiations were reported. Some places criticized the concept due to the destruction of habitat for some flora and fauna.
Pros and Cons of Solar Farm
Check this post to learn more about the pros and cons of a Solar Farm environmentally
Solar Farm Efficiency: Investment and Innovation
The use of solar energy is increasing daily with the latest development in solar technologies. However, the initial investment is expensive and might bond you to question yourself about its worth.
Also, the factors like geographic location, temperature, shading quality of panels play a significant role in answering the efficiency of any solar farm.
How To Measure Efficiency?
The energy output or energy production in a given surface area from a solar panel is its efficiency. Quality solar panels or modern technology have upgraded versions that take less space but might not be cost-effective.
Affordable solar panels might take more space, but it comes with many other incentives to encourage renewable energy at a pocket-friendly cost.
The Efficiency of Solar Panels
It’s a great idea to go solar. You have researched, the land is finalized, the Sun is perfect, but what’s the use if you install without checking and cross-checking checking efficiency of solar panels?
What’s the use of it if your reduced monthly energy expenses are going into fixing the panels?
With improvements in Photovoltaic technology, scientists have successfully observed 40% efficiency by using multi-junction cells. Normally, solar panels offer an 11-15% rating for energy efficiency. So, the concept goes like this-
· Smaller space/ limited areas need expensive, highly efficient solar panels to meet energy requirements.
· Larger area/vast land can achieve energy requirements with less expensive, less efficient solar panels.
Factors Affecting The Efficiency Of Solar Panels
There are various industry standards regarding solar power plants with the rate card of efficiency. Additionally, some designs work with the concept of interconnected modules.
Designs like Monocrystalline Silicon Panels, Building Integrated Photovoltaic Panels, Polycrystalline Silicon Panels, and Thin-Film Solar Cell Technology are some of the versatile designs. They are efficient, and some work well, even for traditional roofing.
Solar panel installations need to fulfill energy requirements with long-term economic benefits. Following factors can affect the performance of solar panels, which will lead to a change in energy output-
· Solar panels are designed according to temperature and weather. Select the right panel according to the geographical conditions to enjoy profitable returns.
· Shade reduces the output of energy production. Although ‘no shadow’ is an ideal installation area, you can select the area with less or minimum shadow.
· With the proper angle and positioning, you can get the maximum energy output. This is important to maximize efficiency.
· Panel design and construction play a major role in the efficiency of photovoltaic processes. However, qualitative products come with high productivity, protection, and company professionals to inspect and solve any issues.
When you think about ecology and conservation of nature, the concept of a green lifestyle, sustainable surroundings, and clean energy instantly hit even before caffeine.
Out of all the beautiful options solar, achieves a positive impact poll more than others. Greenhouse effect solar is increasingly moving forward with incorporating government schemes to reduce carbon emissions.
Solar farms can encourage the effective use of land for the implementation of green and clean energy. The United States already had 97,275 megawatts of installed PV and solar power plants at the end of 2020.
As a result of early research and incorporation of solar power and technology, the U.S has successfully topped the list in the world electricity generation.
Additionally, there are plans to build many other large solar plants, and California aims to obtain 100% zero-carbon source electricity by 2045. Solar farms can be a reliable option to use land with confirmed benefits. As per the latest reports, there are 5,000 major projects currently in the database with large-scale projects under construction.
You have a piece of land, a large rooftop switch to solar, to be sustainable to the environment.