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What Type of Land Do You Need for Solar and Wind Energy Solutions?

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Published on Saturday, November 21, 2015 by Land Century

Who wouldn’t like the potential to make money off of their land by selling electric back to the electric company? Most people don’t understand that energy can be produced on your land whether it is used for personal use, or sold to electric companies.

And many land investors have chosen to go this route because of the following benefits:

- You can earn a profit off land with minimal upkeep.

- You’ll have the ability to pay property taxes without taking a loss.

- Energy is always in demand, and providing energy is the perfect investment.

- You have the opportunity to produce all of your home’s energy needs.

Wind and solar energy are by far the best solution for landowners. Why? Because these solutions are least costly to get set up, and they don’t require power to operate. Solar will use the sun as its energy source, while wind turbines use the wind to produce energy. First and foremost, let’s discuss what type of land you’ll want to purchase for your energy needs.

Land Considerations for Wind and Solar Energy

The ideal place to produce solar and wind energy is the desert. What many people don’t understand is that the desert is extremely hot during the day, but at night, the wind blows often and makes it cold. This will allow you to produce energy thanks to solar power during the day, and when the sun is down, use wind turbines to produce energy at night.

But many people do not want to live in desert areas – it’s a difficult life. This doesn’t mean that you won’t find great opportunities to buy land that are perfectly suited to produce energy. In virtually every part of the country, you’ll be able to produce energy for your own home or to sell.

Land for Solar Energy

Solar “farms” are very popular, and many companies will actually pay you to use your land for the production of energy. You also have the option of doing this yourself, but there will be upfront costs that will be assessed in the process.

The ideal land for solar energy includes:

* Several acres of land for mass production (25 acres or more).
* Land that is relatively flat.
* Areas not close to city centers, historical monuments or high density populations.

While you want to make sure that sun is in abundance, a hedgerow is ideal because it will block the appearance of the solar panels. In some places, neighbors may complain about your solar panels because they become an eyesore when they’re viewed.

While a lot of acreage is recommended, you can also purchase smaller acreage and use the energy for your own home, or sell some of it. We recommended 25 acres for commercial purposes.

Land for Wind Energy

Wind turbines have had their prices decrease 80% since 1980. This form of energy production does not pollute the atmosphere, and is a green source of energy. Renewable, wind energy accounts for 2.5% of total worldwide energy production. And this percentage is growing by 25% each year. Operational costs for wind energy are very low, and wind turbines are extremely space efficient.

Literally all you need is an open space of land to house a wind turbine. The size of the turbine will determine how much energy is produced, with the largest model able to produce enough energy for 600 homes in the United States. When looking for land for wind energy, you want to consider the following:

* Flatland where wind is not obstructed by dense forests.
* Areas of the country where wind is in abundance.
* Wind turbines can be noisy, so you’ll want to avoid having neighbors close by.
* You’ll need at least 1 acre of land for adequate placement of a large wind turbine, and if you plan on using turbines as an investment, I recommend getting several acres of land.

The major concern with wind energy is that there is a large upfront cost to set up turbines and buy them. Prices associated with wind turbines are between the range of $3,000 and $8,000 per kilowatt. The average home would need 10 kW machine with an upfront investment of between $50,000 and $80,000. This would be enough to provide energy for a large home, and will pay itself back. Commercial wind turbines that produce 2 megawatts of power normally cost $3 million-$4 million with installation prices considered.

Solar and Wind Examples

One of the biggest solar farms in the country occupies 200 acres of land. This massive farm produces approximately 1 MW of electric per 10 acres of land. Keep in mind that solar power only has a capacity factor of 19.4%. What this means is that while the maximum potential of solar is 100%, the total capacity only 19.4%. This occurs because at night there’s no sun, some days are overcast, and a variety of other environmental factors add to the output reduction.

In retrospect, even nuclear energy only has a generating capacity of 90.1%. Wind power has an operating capacity of 32.3% on average. This is less than hydropower, and more than solar power whether it be thermal or PV. The issue of wind is that it requires a lot more space than solar in terms of maximum output. Shepherds Flat Wind Farm produces 845 MW of power in Oregon, but this farm spans over 30 mi.². In total, 338 windmills are used to produce this massive amount of power.

All of this information should provide you with a basic understanding of how much land you’ll need when looking into solar and wind energy solutions. Solar power is the best option for smaller investors because it is often cheaper to install, and you’ll need much less land to produce energy. But wind energy does have a higher production capacity, meaning that while more land is used, you’ll also be producing more energy.

Investors can start small and only need to ensure that they have enough acreage to produce energy that they could sell back to the electric company, or use for their own home. Make sure you browse our section for latest land available. The ideal solution would be to use some of this energy for your home and sell the excess energy for a profit.
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