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Renewable Energy and Modern Agriculture

Utilizing the suns energy is nothing new for farmers, after all, it is kind of important in order to grow crops. Modern agriculture though, can use the sun in more efficient and productive ways. Agriculture and renewable energy complement each other very well and are increasingly seen together. Many farmers have invested in renewable energy sources as they can be harvested forever, promising long term income. Wind and solar are commonly known renewable energy sources, but many farmers already grow another type; corn for ethanol production. These sources of energy are considered cash crops for farmers because while they may not be a true crop, the utilization of land in this way can be very financially sound for farmers.

For ranchers and farmers that want to add a sustainable energy source to their land, the good news is that the conditions for agricultural use also usually support natural energy production. Large open areas, with moderate weather patterns and plenty of sunshine are beneficial when creating miles of wind, solar, or corn farms. While harvesting an abundance of solar energy may not be largely effected by seasons, the availability of a vast amount of land is always a positive as large scale production is always best to ensure better results — and a little more of consistent sunshine couldn’t hurt either.

As the world moves towards more green, sustainable options to replace fossil fuels for electricity production, it is no secret that farmers and ranchers that usually own large, open land can sell their property or excess energy produced on their property for a pretty penny. But what about the smaller scale farmers that want to use solar to benefit their business?

While desert areas such as Nevada or Arizona may get more sun annually than most typical agricultural states in the US, the amount of sun in an average day will still produce an ample amount of energy. The energy being harvested and stored will supply most farmers and ranchers with the enough electricity to remain self-sufficient, lower or erase electric bills, and even possibly get a tax credit for excess energy while they’re at it. Solar panels occupying an area of the field is not the only way to utilize solar energy, though. The photovoltaic panels can supply the general electricity and farm operations, but solar heat collectors and solar water heaters can optimize efficiency throughout a property. Replacing the reliance on power lines, gas, coal, and oil use with solar provides a reliable, consistent, and healthy source of energy. Externally, federal incentives through the Farm Security and Federal Incentives Act of 2002 provides millions of dollars toward agricultural subsidies for the use of renewable energy systems.

Whether farmers sell the energy produced or use smaller scale forms to replace fuel or enhance productivity on the ranch or farm, it ultimately will allow the future of agriculture to remain and possibly even become more sustainable.

___________________________ Solar Opportunities is a Full-Service Solar Consultation, Design and Install company services Pennsylvania. Our cutting edge design platform enables inquiring minds to access all the information they need to know in a clear, transparent fashion in a short amount of time. Systems can be designed from satellite imagery for residential, commercial and agricultural properties. For more information, visit us at, email us at or call us at 570-637-6384.

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