While Commodities Sink, Solar Power Rises on Farmland
Joe Ryan reports: "Farmland has become fertile territory for clean energy, as solar and wind developers in North America, Europe and Asia seek more flat, treeless expanses to build. That’s also been a boon for struggling U.S. family farms that must contend with floundering commodity prices."
Along those latter lines, cotton process are down 71 percent in the last five years, soybeans 33 percent, and peanuts 16 percent. "Solar companies, meanwhile, are paying top dollar, offering annual rents of $300 to $700 an acre," reports Ryan, using statistics supplied by the NC Sustainable Energy Association.
The article focuses specifically on the new land use paradigms for solar power and farmland in southern states like North Carolina and Georgia. Ryan also discusses the financial and legal arrangements that make the new solar capacity on former farmland possible, along with the local opposition to such plans in many places around the country. One of the most infamous examples of local opposition to a proposal to convert farmland to solar power facility occurred last in 2015 in the North Carolina town of Woodland.