Full Title: Harvesting the Sun: On-Farm Opportunities and Challenges for Solar Development
Author(s): Anuj Krishnamurthy, Oscar Serpell
Publisher(s): Kleinman Center for Energy Policy
Publication Date: July 12, 2021
Full Text: Download Resource
In the U.S., fossil fuel deposits are linked to land ownership, and many farmers have capitalized by selling their mineral rights to energy companies. Recent solar installations on farms are proving to be more profitable with fewer environmental impacts.
By 2040, the amount of land needed to meet the United States’ growing energy requirements will increase by 27%, directly affecting an estimated 200,000 square kilometers (sq. km.) of land with new energy development (Trainor et al. 2016, 1–16). This is the projected result of both a changing energy portfolio and increasing demand.
Over the last decade, for example, advances in drilling technology have unlocked considerable energy potential from 1.3 million sq. km. of land—roughly twice the size of Alaska—that had previously been ill-suited for conventional oil and gas development. Fossil fuel production demands constant land expansion as available resources are depleted. Production will continue to encroach on new land for as long as demand for these fuels persists.