How do solar farms make sense?

Around my area there have been probably half a dozen solar farms popping up in PRIME or future (next 10 years) prime real estate.

One that really makes me scratch my head is a 10 acre plot, that is supposed to provide electric to 100 - 200 homes.

The property taxes alone on this land must be in the 6 figure range. As it’s situated along the intersection of two of the busiest roads in the county. And about a mile outside of a semi large city.

Financially I just don’t understand how you could sell enough electricity out of this plot to pay taxes, wages, and repairs to equipment.

Is it just a massive tax write off for large electric
Don’t get it twisted, I’m not against solar energy, but wouldn’t it make more sense to just lease roof space from local warehouses?

Is the land already publicly owned? In that case property taxes would not be a factor. Also, property taxes are generally far lower if there are no structures on the land; usually there’s an agricultural rate that you pay if nobody lives or works there.

This question is basically impossible to answer without knowing more details - especially what that solar farm will be able to sell its energy for - but The Internet tells me that a 1MW solar farm can make six figures per year. A ten-acre plot could produce between 2-5 MW depending on [lots and lots of factors].

This gives me an idea.

Near us is a large vacant chunk of land in the midst of a developed area. Absolutely nothing on it. A developer will drive by, see it, and check to see what the price is.

Then they find out it’s an ex-landfill. Vacant for a reason. Soft ground, methane leaks.

I wonder if anyone’s thought of putting a solar farm on it. Which if it happened would puzzle people in the future. Why is there a solar farm on such prime land?

Most the old landfills in my area have been converted to solar farms. They still have transfer stations at a number of them.

Across the street from the Walden Pond conservation land is the old Concord town landfill. It’s all solar panels now. So very prime real estate in a very expensive area, covered in solar panels within spitting distance of a historic conservation area coveted for it’s past use as an isolated area.

Why the knock on ex-landfills? In my home town, Mounds Mall was built over a former landfill. It closed last year, but it made money for over half a century.

Also, keep in mind that electricity needs expensive wires to get to populated areas, so it makes sense to put solar plants near cities.

Land is also an investment, especially prime land locations. And without structures on it usually pay very little in taxes.

Renting warehouse roof space has some big problems that you are at the mercy of the landlord every year, if they renew, or if they need you to remove your panels to reroof the structure, or once you build everything next year the rent doubles, and solar is something that is panned in decades and owning makes sense here as you need to be pretty sure you can set up things for 20+ years.

This. Despite what the salespeople say, installing solar isn’t always a guaranteed plus when you’re selling your house.

I worked for a couple of PV companies and some homeowners had to reduce the asking price for their homes because the panels are old* or the new homeowners don’t don’t want to pay the extra for it. And removing them isn’t a real option, because the rails to install them require hundreds of holes in the roof that would have to be patched and could easily potentially leak.

*Solar panels lose about 1% of their output capability per, so at 25-30 years, they at ~80% efficiency for the panels themselves. That’s 80% of the max they were actually producing at their peak, which because of location is usually what the max rating is. The inverters lifespan is ~10-15 years, so that’s extra cost that factored in purchase/lease price for the buyer.

Should be: “That’s 80% of the max they were actually producing at their peck, which because of their location orientation is usually * less than* what the max rating is.”

IIRC, the best panels in the ideal location and orientation could convert up to ~80-90% of the solar energy vs as low as ~60% for cheap low quality panels.

Correction, a quick check shows that actual conversion efficiency (solar rays to electricity) is ~16-20%, so my numbers are flipped for real life applications, higher being better. I wasn’t in sales, but heard the higher numbers thrown around as sales talk and brochures. The effect of orientation and location is correct though, since some homes needed way more panels than others to produce the same amount of energy as their neighbors just because of the angles of their roof.