Solar farms are excellent neighbors. They create virtually no noise, emit zero carbon emissions and generate far less traffic than a single family home. Yet from time to time there are those that don’t want to live next to them. For this reason, obtaining land use entitlements for a solar farm can be challenging, especially when opposition exists. We never try to change people’s mind about our solar farms, but rather it’s our job to provide as much information and facts about our solar farms as possible. If it were possible to site every solar farm in the middle of the desert or where no one can see it, we would site every solar farm in that manner. The reality is distributed generation (DG) solar farms more often than not need to be located near demand – close to homes and businesses in order to be able to obtain the utility’s permission to interconnect to the grid. We currently operate solar farms on all types of land use including agricultural, residential and industrial and find that they can operate in harmony in all types of land use environments.
Developing a solar farm is very similar to developing a residential subdivision or a retail strip center; the same civil engineering design aspects need to be taken into consideration. Although we outsource the electrical engineering design of our solar farms, we have the capabilities of designing all civil and site plan aspects of a solar farm. Site plan design is a critical component of developing a solar farm and having this capability allows us flexibility to evaluate solar farm “prospects” early in the development stage to identify fatal flaws of a site. Designing our own site plans also adds a personal approach that a third party engineer might not take. We take pride in how our solar farms are designed and constructed and having this in-house ability sets us apart from our competitors.
Have you ever wondered how much energy a solar farm would produce on the roof of your house? We have a pretty good idea. Using real solar data from stations maintained by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, we can reliably predict what a solar farm (or rooftop solar facility) will produce at any given location in the U.S. While wind farm development requires the installation of a meteorological tower and the collection of wind data for years, solar irradiance data is readily available for free. Using this data, while taking into consideration the various equipment and design aspects of a future solar farms, we can very accurately project the annual output of a solar farm. If you’re a business owner and are interested in offsetting a large energy bill with solar generation, our energy forecasting capabilities could be of use to you.
We purchase all of the major equipment for our solar farms directly from the manufacturers. We do this to eliminate middle man markups and lower the cost of energy for our customers. We have developed lasting relationships with some of the largest manufacturers of solar equipment (i.e. racking, modules, inverters, combiner boxes, monitoring equipment, etc.) in the world. Purchasing large quantities of solar equipment also provides us with buying power. We have a strong credit history with the vendors we work with and this gives us favorable credit terms.
Finding a suitable site for a solar farm is our specialty. It sounds simple, but it’s not. There are so many factors to consider, especially in California. The most important factor to consider is the ability to interconnect and deliver power into a utility’s distribution system. It’s also important to take into consideration environmental factors, land use, adjacent uses, vegetation, wildlife and terrain (among other factors). We’ve performed due diligence on over one hundred sites over the years and this experience has become invaluable when prospecting land for a solar farm. We’ve seen it all and know the pitfalls to avoid when selecting a solar farm. Allco purchases land in fee for all of its solar farms (with certain exceptions) and very often purchases land with high solar potential on speculation. If you’re interested in selling your land to Allco, please contact us and we’ll let you know if it’s a fit for us.