Dinner with Dan: Episode 4 – “Solar Takes Up Too Much Land!”

So what about all the land required for solar power? Are all the farms and ranching going to be covered by panels? The answer is no, as broken down in our latest video series with responses to “Uncle Bob”.

In a fully renewable grid, with wind, hydro, geothermal, batteries, and solar on roofs, parking lots, and ground…utility scale solar might practically require 0.2% of the US continental land area. Even if 100% of all the US energy required for 24/7 power came from ground-mounted solar, it would take < 0.5% of the land area of the US.

There are some irresponsible developers that do dumb things like acquire many small parcels around a specific non-solar property, and understandable push-back from some communities. More inspiring is the lion’s share of projects that are responsibly developed; and the dual land-use projects that have agriculture. pollination, and grazing in conjunction with solar.

[photo: Silicon Ranch Corporation]

This can provide another income stream for ranchers and farmers, and benefits to the solar plant such as less dust, and cooler operation. In comparison with hydraulic fracking which can ruin land for farming, a solar plant fallows land which can be readily restored for agriculture or grazing the future.

There have been over 100 new or expanded factories to manufacture solar, wind, and battery systems announced since the passage of the IRA in the U.S. These facilities are geographically distributed across much of the U.S. and bringing needed economic activity to areas that are manufacturing products for use in the communities where they are located.

Farming the sun while farming the land…very exciting stuff!

Happy Holidays – Shug