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A Complete Guide to Solar Power Systems for Farmers

We’ll provide you with the knowledge to make an informed decision and get a solar power system installed for your farm. Own your power.

With increasing overheads for US farms and the uncomplicated nature of agricultural buildings naturally lending themselves to solar installation, it’s no wonder that more farms are opting for solar than ever before. 

In the last US census of agriculture (2017) it was found that the number of US farms opting for renewable energy in general had doubled in the last five years. When it came to solar, there were a huge 90,142 farms who made the switch, in comparison to 36,331 farms in the 2012 census.

From saving you cash, to helping you lower your carbon footprint, here we’re going to tell you all about the world of solar panels for farming.

Why do farmers use solar panels?

There are endless reasons why farmers across the country are choosing to use solar. Over the last few years, the interest has likely risen because of the financial returns than come with using solar. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits.

Benefits of Solar Panels for Farmers

  • Reduce your farm’s carbon footprint
  • As a farmer, you’ll likely be more interested in the state of the environment than the average person. So reducing your carbon footprint may already be on your to-do list.

    Choosing solar means that your farm is no longer using non-renewable energy to generate electricity, and therefore reducing the amount of harmful greenhouse gases that are released into the air. This will have huge advantages for both the environment and the reputation of your farm.

  • Save your farm money
  • The installation of solar panels on farms can bring huge savings on energy bills for farmers – especially important when overheads for farmers seem to be increasing year on year. The overall savings amount will depend on various components (such as where your farm is located, the system you choose and the angle of your roof), but over the entire lifespan of your solar PV system, you could be saving tens of thousands of dollars.

    It’s hard to give an accurate estimate of how much money your farm will save using solar, but if you’re interested in finding out, we can help at Cross Country Construction. We’ll calculate your energy bill savings by conducting a satellite footage report. This report takes 10 years of weather patterns into account and determines your savings based on real weather data. 

    As well as energy bills, thanks to the Federal Solar Tax Credit and Solar Renewable Energy Credits, you’ll also be able to benefit from tax deduction when investing in solar (26% for the Federal Solar Tax Credit and the Solar Renewable Energy Credit amount should be announced in April 2021).

  • Generating your farm’s own electricity
  • Not only can the installation of solar panels on farms save you cash, but it can generate cash too. We suspect that the recent uptake in farmers using solar has been largely due to the ability to demonstrate a return on investment when it comes to choosing the renewable energy solution. This is all achieved through net metering.

    Net metering is where farmers can generate their own electricity via solar power, then sell any unused power to the electricity grid. Net metering may slightly vary depending on your area, but there’s usually something in place to allow you to reduce your utility costs.

  • Additional benefits
  • Renewable energy, saving cash, making cash – why wouldn’t you choose solar? In addition, here are a few other reasons your farm will benefit from solar:

    • You’ll be in control of your own energy and therefore less reliant on the local grid. Your productivity and therefore generation of money won’t be affected by power cuts beyond your control.
    • You’ll have a lengthy warranty which means that you can be assured that your solar supplier won’t stop supporting you as soon as your system is installed.
    • You’ll be more attractive to both consumers and investors. Running your farm on solar energy is a huge, positive step into the ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ world – especially with more and more consumers focusing on spending their cash with green companies.

    Types of solar panels for farms

    There are three main types of solar panels.

    • Monocrystalline 
    • Polycrystalline
    • Thin-film

    Without going into the detailed specifics of how each of these types work, here is a brief overview. Monocrystalline is the most efficient solar panel type – this means it’s naturally the most expensive too. Polycrystalline is next in the line in terms of efficiency, with a slightly lower cost. Thin-film solar panels are made from different materials and are more light-weight and therefore portable. These are the lowest efficiency but most affordable.

    The type of solar panel you choose will be determined by your farm and your requirements. For help with deciding and a free estimate, give us a call on (815) 315-0637.

    What purchase options are there for the installation of solar panels on farms?

    Switching your electricity source can seem like a huge up-front cost, especially if it isn’t an essential change. However, there are a few things to consider when looking at your finance options.

    Firstly, don’t forget about the tax credits you’ll qualify for which will get you over 26% tax reductions (with the Federal Solar Tax Credit and unconfirmed Solar Renewable Energy Credit). That will knock a huge amount off your overall solar installation bill.

    Secondly, if you don’t want to pay the upfront cost for solar installation on your farm and would rather split it, many solar companies will offer flexible payment options. At Cross Country Construction, we have lots of different financing options available. Give us a call on (815) 315-0637 to find out more.

    Investing in solar panels for farming

    Choosing to change your farm’s energy source can be a big decision, especially if your farm has lived through multiple generations on its current source of energy. But sometimes moving with the times is a positive experience, especially when it saves you money, earns you money and has a smaller impact and is much kinder to the environment. 

    If you’re aiming to take your farm’s next steps towards solar, we’d love to help. We’re a reputable general contracting company based in Roscoe, IL. We’re locally owned and have been in the business for over 11 years – building our reputation as the go-to company for all things relating to construction.

    For a friendly chat and a free estimate, get in touch today.