GreenBiz: What businesses should know about the evolution of rural solar

EXCERPT: “Solar panels may harness the sun’s energy in the same way that plants do, but while some rural residents view them as another revenue-enhancing crop, others see them more as weed-like nuisances that threaten their pastoral way of life. Solar projects certainly are growing rapidly throughout the United States, with total installed capacity just shy of 70 gigawatts and a contracted pipeline of 27.9 GW, according to SEIA. A recent Wall Street Journal analysis of EIA data reported that solar projects occupied 258,000 acres in 2018, while NREL estimates that solar will occupy 3 million acres by 2030. That may be a small fraction of the nearly 900 million acres of farmland in the United States (PDF), but it’s enough to make agricultural communities apprehensive about the advance of solar onto previously pastoral land. While landowning farmers are grateful for the steady income that comes from leasing to solar projects, others in rural areas — including many state agricultural departments — are still grappling with what the growth of solar will mean for their concept of rural land and role as agricultural boosters.” FULL STORY: