Infinite Solar Power
Solar power growth is accelerating and, when partnered with our region’s wind power, America’s energy heartland will help meet our Nation’s growing energy demand. The U.S. solar market has grown year-over-year in eight of the last 10 years, and every year the capacity of solar on the power grid and its contribution to the Nation’s energy production has grown.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, every hour, enough energy from the sun reaches Earth to meet the world’s energy usage for an entire year.  Creating solar power by converting sunlight into electricity would lower emissions from electricity generation and decrease long-term energy costs.
Struggling Farmers See Bright Spot in Solar
Panels take land out of crop production, but generate energy revenue. ‘Solar becomes a good way to diversify.’
“The advance of solar installations on farms follows the installation of huge wind turbines across the Farm Belt over the past decade. About 15,000 of the roughly two million U.S. farms contained wind turbines in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available, up from about 9,054 in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”
The total land used for solar power has quadrupled in only five years.
- 2013 — 53,390 acres
- 2018 — 257,910 acres
(According to the U.S. Energy Department; National Renewable Energy Laboratory; WSJ calculations) Click here to read WSJ article.
Solar power supports the agriculture industry
Investments in utility-sale solar projects continues to expand, but that does not equate to the loss of agricultural land.
A land lease with a solar energy development means a farmer or rancher will receive another steady income stream that helps offset the ever-changing grain and cattle markets. This additional revenue, in turn, is used to make land and equipment payments, hire more hands, buy more seed and ultimately produce more exports.
Solar power protects the land for future generations
Like wind farms, solar projects ensure land can recover, especially when paired with native grasses and natural pollinators to benefit an entire region. Responsible solar development could improve soil health, retain water, nurture native species, produce food, and provide even lower-cost energy to local communities.
Click here to view a map of active solar projects produced by the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.