Solar Farms – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Utilizing solar energy is something we should be doing more of since it’s clean and renewable, at least cleaner than biomass energy. That’s the good part about solar energy. Right now we need more infrastructure built up. That’s the bad part. To do so requires a large investment in solar which investors don’t like because they can find better ROI’s elsewhere. That’s the ugly part. This holds true for personal systems and larger scale systems, at least until the solar world becomes more profitable.

There hasn’t exactly been landslide success for solar panel farms. There have been a few successful small scale operations. There are plenty of companies that will fill your personal, or possibly small neighborhood or community needs. If this is all you need and you’re willing to commit the capitol upfront then start making a few calls to find the right developer or installer.

Solar systems are actually pretty simple, especially off-grid connections. Expenses go up when you need to tie into the grid because it normally requires an inverter, special permits, and sometimes certified installers. It all depends on your local, state, and federal laws. Again, total off-grid usually doesn’t require much in the way of permits, and if you can change the battery in your car you can likely do most of it yourself. Always check with local authorities though. You don’t want to build any small solar panel farms and then have to change it, or worse, tear it down.

When it comes to larger investments, there may or may not be great opportunities in solar farms. The field of photovoltaic science is advancing extremely rapidly. Think computers in the early 90’s. Are they going to be a part of everyone’s life, like computers seem to be today? That reality is entirely possible. However, no one seems to have deciphered the right code or formula to bring solar power into the mainstream. Just like on the small scale, solar farming requires a pretty significant upfront cost with a somewhat questionable payback return. Some critics argue that without government incentives and subsidies, it wouldn’t be profitable in the least. However, if we look at computers, the first generations were exorbitantly expensive. So the great questions, and where the inherent risk lies, is whether or not the technology advances will bring the upfront costs down and payback and return on investments up. Someone needs to be the Bill Gates or Steve jobs of solar energy and eventually the cost of solar will decrease to a good level that nearly all can afford, and profit greatly from.

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