Solar Farms Occupy Only .08% of North Carolina’s Precious Farmland

Solar Farms Occupy Only .08% of North Carolina’s Precious Farmland

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Our infographic clears up some common misconceptions about land consumption of solar farms in NC

Renewable energy is a highly debated topic with increasing importance. There are some misconceptions about solar energy, from the amount of space solar farms take up to how much power these farms are producing. How much do you really know about solar energy?

Background Facts – North Carolina has 8.5 million acres of farmland. The 8.5 million acres of farmland are home to about 50,000 farms, each farm averaging 170 acres. These are the most accurate and up-to-date numbers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Now let’s compare common myths about solar energy to the actual facts.

MYTH
Solar farms are taking up too much of North Carolina’s valuable farmland.
FACT
Solar farms are using hardly any of North Carolina’s farmland. Actually, using “hardly” is a huge understatement. Solar farms currently account for 7,968 of the 8,500,000 acres of farmland in the state, or .08%. A number so minuscule, it’s barely recognizable, so we will illustrate it for you.

If the iconic 193 ft. tall Cape Hatteras Lighthouse represented all of North Carolina’s farmland, only 1.85 inches of the lighthouse would be solar farms. The 1.85 inches is microscopic in comparison to the lighthouse as a whole. That’s less than the length of an average human thumb, the width of an iPhone 6, or the key you use to unlock your front door.

If we compare the 50,000 farms in North Carolina to the amount of land solar farms occupy, solar farms would account for 40 of them. North Carolina has 100 counties. That’s less than one solar farm for every two counties.

Let’s say the 8.5 million acres of the state’s farmland represented a 24-hour period of time. Solar energy would only take up 1 minute and 15 seconds of the day. That’s about the time it takes to brush your teeth, respond to an email, or read one page of “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand.
MYTH
Solar energy doesn’t produce much power.
FACT
Solar energy is effective and efficient. North Carolina’s utility-scale solar farms are producing 846 megawatts of electricity. One megawatt of energy is equal to the power of 10 car engines running continuously for one hour. The 846 megawatts our state’s solar farms produce is enough energy to power 91,250 homes, or half of the homes in Raleigh ... for an entire year! Remember, all this solar energy is using less than one tenth of one percent of the state’s farmland. Now that is powerful.
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