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A farmer's guide to going solar in 2022

A farmer's guide to going solar in 2022

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Energy is needed for there to be activity. From this activity, only then can society function and proceed with the cycle of mutual give and take.

In this day and age, we use multiple energy sources throughout different aspects of society. Fossil fuel or natural gas is the most commercialised energy source since current technology is highly capable of artificially manufacturing it.

However, considering how often the economy fluctuates, the rates for this energy source are bound to inflate. And that alone might dampen the well-oiled cycle of activity.

Agriculture plays a significant role in society. Since that area prioritises food production, it demands all the energy it can get to ensure quality. And as you may know, one must handle agriculture delicately due to its perishable goods.

Unfortunately, it's susceptible to the elements that even a single storm can wipe out a month's worth of crops. With energy rates hiking up, farmers have a hard time maintaining the quality of their crops.

Fortunately, technology nowadays has achieved enough milestones to reach a point where it can acquire energy from sources other than fossil fuels and nuclear power. Solar energy is starting to get integrated into society since it has a lower impact on the environment and is cost-effective.

Considering it comes from sunlight, solar power would be compatible with agriculture. But before diving into it head-first, you need to consider factors in integrating solar energy into your farm.

1. Choose between panel options

Utilising solar energy is a long-term investment. Because at face value, most solar panels aren't known for their low costs. However, if solar energy is still a new concept for you, you might be unaware that and other solar energy manufacturers offer multiple solar panel options with different prices and materials you can choose from; and these options are as follows:

Monocrystalline solar panels

These solar panels are purely made out of silicone. Because there are no other materials mixed in, they are much more efficient in converting energy from sunlight into electricity. In exchange for energy efficiency this high, this solar panel is the most expensive. But rest assured, they can last for years. Even most solar energy manufacturers sell them with a warranty beyond 25 years.

Polycrystalline solar panels

Whereas monocrystalline solar panels can transport high energy, polycrystalline solar panels are less efficient. Since their material contains irregularities, their silicon property can't handle as much energy as you may want. Because of this, polycrystalline solar panels are less expensive than monocrystalline.

Thin-film solar panels

Thin-film solar panels are made with multiple layers of thin films of various photovoltaic materials on a substrate. Because of this quality, it has the lowest energy transportation and production. Furthermore, the material used in creating them is not as durable as silicon, so you'll be lucky if it exceeds 20 years at maximum. But on the bright side, not containing silicon gives them the lowest costs of the rest.

A farmer's guide to going solar in 2022

2. Know your crops

As a farmer, one of your many responsibilities is to get familiar with your crops. If you base your knowledge on incorrect facts, it may only kill them, leading to a waste of precious resources. Therefore, you need to do your research.

Thinking that every plant needs to have sunlight 24/7 is a rookie mistake. After all, too much of anything doesn't bode well for anyone or anything, including plants. Because much like humans, these plants sweat by photosynthesising. So, the more they sweat, the easier it is to photosynthesise. While this may sound good, pushing them too fast can only dehydrate them. And dehydration is a farmer's worst enemy.

On the other hand, corn crops won't suffer too much since they thrive from a lot of sunlight. However, the same can't be said for other plants such as potatoes, tomatoes, or beans because they're much more comfortable receiving a well-balanced shade and sunlight.

Even when there is a power outage, your crops can be as comfortable as they can be with solar energy. Moreover, every single plant you take care of isn't at risk of dehydrating, thanks to the solar panel's shade, irrigation, and heating system.

However, it would be best to research and consider your plant's needs before installing solar energy. You must ask yourself, how much electricity do I need for my plants? Will they benefit from this switch of energy source? Will I get my money's worth in the long run? Doing so can help guide you in your decision.

3. Settle with a location

There are many responsibilities when handling a farm. Harvesting, plowing, and fertilising are only a few of their essential duties to maintain their crops. But to make these happen, they'll need vehicles for their convenience. Because of the size of a field, these vehicles need to be large and efficient.

Such vehicles are bound to damage your solar panels by bumping into them. Therefore, you need to decide whether they should be installed on a roof or stay on the ground with a boosted height. This way, your vehicles can pass by safely, and you can even have animals grazing beneath the solar panels so they can use them as shade.

In addition, you need to consider where you can get sunlight most when installing solar panels on your farm. This way, you can get your money's worth as it converts enough electricity for your farming needs.

Is it wise to use solar energy?

With energy prices increasing, farmers need to look for an alternative to power their equipment. So, integrating solar into one's farm could benefit everyone involved. All you need to do is know where to start, and you can do so with the information above.