#6 – Size Matters

“Would you like to supersize that?” has new meaning beyond fast food. Solar farms are growing bigger all over the globe. The reasons:

· PV solar panel costs are going down.

· The panels are readily available for immediate construction.

· The time frame for generating solar is shorter than other energy forms.

· Huge solar sites tend to be off the grid and, thereby, less expensive.

Supersize solar farms may be what propel widespread adoption of this renewal, but there are challenges to be met. One of the most significant is the means, such as electrical grids, by which a superfarm’s energy will be transmitted to populated areas. One of the other stumbling blocks is the ageless and endless NIMBY argument, even when the backyard is vast, undeveloped land.

Countries with large tracts of undeveloped, sunny land, such as Egypt, China, Morocco and India, are in the forefront of global supersizing. In the U.S., some of the largest farms are, logically, in California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. The first commercial solar plants in the country were built in the 1980s in the California-Nevada Mojave Desert.

What then are countries with long, dark winters, extended rainy seasons and/or limited amounts of land to do? Japan, an island country of limited land and dense population and development, is exploring having a solar farm satellite by the 2030s that will beam energy to a vast number of antennas.

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By Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD+C
President, Metropolitan Valuation Services

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