Agriculture + Solar Farms: The Future of Sustainable Solar Power in Rhode Island?

Agriculture + Solar Farms: The Future of Sustainable Solar Power in Rhode Island?

Technologies, businesses, and infrastructure projects that require vast swathes of land often find themselves at odds with agriculture for landscape. Then there’s also the ethical question of prioritizing land usage for non-agricultural purposes, when the world continues to battle severe food shortages.

A similar predicament has traditionally faced the solar power industry. Should fertile, arable land be reallocated to power generation, no matter how green it is?

Recent exciting developments have all but rendered this question irrelevant! Here’s how.

Co-location of Food and Power

Several independent experiments by enterprising farmers across the country have demonstrated the vast untapped potential lying at the intersection of agriculture and solar power. By co-locating agricultural production and solar power infrastructure, both can benefit from each other.

The solar industry gets access to land that was previously inaccessible to it. Food production, on the other hand, brings several amazing benefits. For one, farmers are growing food under shade, instead of harsh sunshine. Secondly, grazers like sheep and chicken can also feed under the solar panel’s shade, and as they go about their business, their manure enriches the soil naturally.

It’s a win-win for everyone.

Beyond Efficiency

Efficient land utilization is not the only benefit for farmers looking to adopt solar power. The affordability and cost savings of solar power makes tremendous financial sense for farmers. Multiple factors are contributing to the growing trend of farmers choosing solar power to meet their energy needs:

  • Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

The REAP program has given farmers easy access to solar power equipment and installation. Easy financing at incredibly attractive rates, combined with grants (up to 25%), has made solar power adoption a painless and financially attractive option for farmers.

  • MACRS Depreciation

The Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System allows more significant depreciation of their solar power system in the initial years. By doing this, farmers can realize staggering savings on their tax credits.

By claiming tax benefits with MACRS, farmers can offset a significant part of their investment in solar power.

  • Controlled Energy Costs

Utility companies change their power prices time and again. Customers hardly have any say in the matter and end up paying higher electricity bills with each passing year.

By installing solar panels, farmers get complete control over their electricity costs. Whether they purchase their solar power system, lease it, or finance it, their expenses on power are only a fraction of what they pay to their utility company.

For all these reasons, agriculture and solar power are proving to be a match made in “green” heaven.

Contact Green Power Energy for more information.

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