Politicians and government officials throughout the developed world have committed to reducing carbon emissions by investing in renewable energy sources. Solar power is one of the most reliable and affordable alternatives, and many countries, including the U.S., are increasing their investment in solar power.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change
Fossil fuels are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions that trap heat and send the earth barreling toward 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial temperatures—the point of no return that could make it impossible to get the climate back to normal.
Fortunately, switching to renewable energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions without asking society to return to the Stone Age. The idea that people could rely primarily on renewable energy is not naively optimistic—it could actually work thanks to the falling costs and skyrocketing installation rates of solar panels.
Falling Solar Prices
According to the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), solar has experienced an average annual growth rate of 33% over the past decade. Solar power generation in the U.S. has grown dramatically, from 0.34 gigawatts (GW) in 2008, to 142.3 GW of total installed capacity in 2022, enough to power 25 million American homes.
A 2022 study compared the fuel, running, and maintenance cost of America’s coal fleet with the building of new solar or wind from scratch in the same utility region. The study found that on average, the marginal cost for the coal plants is $36 each megawatt hour, while new solar is about $24 each megawatt hour, or about a third cheaper.
Skyrocketing Solar Installations
In 2022, 50% of all new electric capacity added to the grid came from solar, the largest such share in history. Power producers have been responding to lower costs with an explosion of solar projects. The U.S. increased its solar power capacity by about 50 percent in just the past two years.
If the exponential growth of solar continues—along with the corresponding phasing out of fossil fuels and accelerated transition to electric vehicles—greenhouse gas emissions could possibly fall at the rates needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Now is the Time to Act
It may feel like no single person can make a difference in the world’s climate, but the good news is that there is a lot we can still do as individuals to change this narrative. Changing the way we consume energy can save money and perhaps even help save the planet. That includes the idea of installing solar on your land.
If you’re a landowner, you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the climate by putting unused acreage to use as a solar farm. Not only can this decision help save the world, but it can add income to your pocket as well. Many solar developers are willing to offer lease fees that far exceed the per-acre earnings from traditional farming and ranching.
For help negotiating and navigating what can be a complex process with potential solar developers, turn to Scout Land Consultants. We have been helping landowners sign fair, profitable solar farm leases since 2014.
Determining your site’s solar suitability is the first step, so contact us today to schedule a complimentary, comprehensive evaluation.