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Solar Farms: What Are They, And How Do You Start One?
Solar Farms: What Are They, And How Do You Start One?

The solar industry has seen rapid growth over the past decade, and a major contributing factor has been the surge in solar farms popping up across the globe. In this article, we’ll explain the different types of solar farms, how much they cost and how to start one.


Solar Farms And Community Solar


The idea of community solar has taken off in recent years as more homeowners have realized that they can go solar without putting solar panels on their own physical roof. A community solar project—sometimes referred to as a “solar garden” or roofless solar —is a solar power plant whose electricity is shared by more than one household. In most cases, a community solar array is a large ground mount installation that spans one or many acres.


Visually, these solar gardens resemble utility-scale solar farms, but they are often smaller in size. Customers can either purchase a share of a solar garden and own that portion of the overall array or they can lease energy from the solar system and, in a sense, replace their monthly utility payments with monthly community solar payments that are typically at a lower price. You can find community solar projects in your town or state in our Community Solar Marketplace.


Building A Solar Farm: How Does It Work?

When considering building a solar farm, whether it be a 50 kW array or a 50 MW project and larger, here are five key questions you should ask:


1. How many acres do I need for this size of a power plant?

A smaller solar farm may only require a few acres of land whereas a large utility-scale solar farm can require hundreds of acres (for reference, the above mentioned Kamuthi Power Plant spans 2,500 acres).


2. How will electrical connection work?

You’ll need to consider the location of the land and whether or not it’s situated close enough to power lines and electrical panels to feasibly connect your array to the power grid or to a centralized power source.


3. How will I clean and maintain the plant?

Whether or not the location has water sources or cleaning options will be important in order to maintain the efficiency of so many solar panels that are situated so close to the ground. The Kamuthi Power Plant, for example, is constantly cleaned by a team of solar-powered robots.


4. How many solar panels will I need?

In order to make sure you’ll be able to meet the expected energy demand with your solar farm, you’ll need to first start with the needed kilowatt hours of energy and work backward to get a number of panels you’ll need for the array. To calculate this figure, you’ll need to determine the solar panel production ratio for your area to understand how much energy a certain solar panel wattage will provide. Check out our full explanation on how to do this type of calculation.

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