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Over the years, there has been an increase in the need for energy. By 2040, the USA predicts an energy requirement increase of 27%. The country has ambitious targets for increasing energy sources by targeting renewable energy use. A question that remains is; “Is solar farming eating into the traditional farmland?”

Solar Farming?

The need to set up solar farms to meet the renewable energy requirements has put many farmers in a situation where they are unsure of what to do with their farmland anymore. They have owned and farmed the land for years. The yields are their only source of income. Some are at the point where they are not sure if they should continue with planting crops and rearing animals or lease their land for solar farming. Furthermore, the returns they get from the lease are consistent and higher. The only requirement is to sign some papers and collect their monthly income. With the agreement signing and leases lasting ten years and above, some feel they risk losing generational land. As solar farms continue to set shop in different regions, there is a risk of taking farmland out of production. There might be a reduction in overall food production for the country as most farmers have turned to solar farming.

Why is on-farm solar development more lucrative for farmland owners?

Most farmers are leasing their lands to companies setting up solar developments. The first reason is, this is a better option for farmers is its financial viability. Solar companies approach the farmer and lease the land for between $300 to $800. It is consistent income, unlike crop income, that is dependent on the seasons. It reduces the risk of suffering losses from a bad growing season and a lot of hard work that goes into farming. The returns are also higher compared to agricultural produce. Leasing the land helps to diversify income that would previously be only from crop production. For a rural region where the solar company has set shop, it opens job opportunities for people living in the region. Therefore, not only benefit the farmer but also, the community in the area.

Solar farming is environmentally friendly as it poses no risk of pollution to water and soil. The solar panels only disturb the soil during installation. The only requirement for the maintenance of the panels is water to wash away the dust that might have accumulated on them.

What are some of the risks and questions around solar farms?

Each new technology comes with questions from the adopters. Solar farms have been in existence, but the uptake has slowly increased over time. With the vast land available in the USA, some farmers who have owned generational farmland have had questions and concerns about solar farming. All they have done over the years is use their lands for crop growing and animal rearing. Then here is a group of people approaching them to lease their lands for 10 to 25 years for solar farms.

One of the risks that solar farming poses to these farmers is the possibility of not taking care of the land as the solar panels installed do not require cultivation. It poses a risk of the land being left unattended and the growth of weeds, and shrubs. They might have an extensive cost to clear when they need to use the land for farming again.

The farmers also fear the risk of having a generation of 30 years of people who do not know about farming. Once they sign a lease of 25 years, they will not have any land left for farming. Therefore, there will be a twenty year generational gap among farmers. It raises the question, “What will happen when the lease period is over? Will they know what to do with it?”

With the setting up of the solar panels in the regions, some on acres of land. One question that arises is, will this create waste in the region? Do they have a plan for disposing of the solar panels once their work is done? This has created hesitancy among some farmland owners from venturing into solar farms.

The questions raised above should not increase your doubts about solar farming. Streamlining land policies for solar development and the protection of crop yield will help answer some of the questions above. However, solar farming’s advantages outweigh the risks and are worth trying. To increase solar farming uptake, education on benefits is required.

There are instances where the framers have agreed to do a combined farming solution. Farmers, who are still interested in crop farming, are combining their solar and crop farming on their lands. It includes having the crops underneath and the solar panels on top of the crops. Some of the advantages this has shown is a reduction in transpiration. This is the amount of water the plant loses due to exposure to sunlight. It has significantly reduced the combined farming and saved the farmers water for irrigation. The plants also have less exposure to sunlight and heat, which influences photosynthesis. It has led to healthier plants.


Solar farming has sparked a lot of interest in farmland owners. With the inflation and unpredictable weather patterns, most farmers are considering this as an option for farmland. It proves to provide consistent income over a given period. It causes no damage to the soil, and you are safe from bad seasons.

For any farmland buyers and owners, deciding what to do with your land can become challenging with the many available options. It helps to know what each product offering means to you and your land. This may require professional assistance. At Advantage Realty & Land Management, we will help you decide the best solution for your farmland. In case you are planning to purchase farmland, we will guide you through land management and crop consulting. We aim to ensure you are content with your decision. Call us today and get the advantage.

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