Similarly to plants, solar panels harvest energy from the sun and turn it into usable energy. Some rural communities have fully embraced solar life and have found benefit in its unusual energy creation. However, other rural communities are viewing it as a nuisance. Sometimes these new technologies can be complex to install and they can also have complicated maintenance issues. Some smaller towns are more resistant to incorporating new technologies and this can hinder the use of solar energy in these areas. For the communities that are turning to solar energy, they are finding that investing in the resource will save money on energy costs and it can also be used as a source of revenue for the cities.
That being said, many small communities are apprehensive about using solar technologies on their roofs and especially on pasture land where they will have to swap crop space for solar technology space. Although landowning farmers are thankful for the steady income that comes from leasing to solar ventures, many in rural areas — including several state-run agricultural departments — are still grappling with what solar development would mean for their rural land idea and position as agricultural boosters. Education about solar roofing technologies could be the key to increasing receptiveness toward this new technology in rural areas. If many of the farmers understood the monetary benefits of generating solar power, they would likely feel more compelled to participate.
Counties and states across rural America are taking various positions on solar farming in rural communities. Connecticut and Oregon have restricted the development of solar projects on high-demand growing land because they are wary of losing the farmland. Losing the farmland could impact the amount of food they are able to produce and could create shortages across the country. However, something that these solar development laws fail to realize is that solar technology projects do not have to have an impact on the amounts of food that can be grown. If these areas want to preserve their rich farmland, they can choose to put their solar fields in areas of marginal or used farmland where crops would otherwise not grow.
Another benefit of solar farming for rural farmers is the consistency of solar energy generation. For most farmers, their crops will be seasonal and they can also be entirely wiped out by drought, weather, and bugs. However, for farmers that choose to invest in solar energy projects, the creation of solar energy will provide the consistent energy that they can sell year-round, and most of the time they can sell the energy straight to their local government or energy provider. By choosing to add solar technology to non-usable farmland, farmers can ensure they will make profits every time of year. A rising number of farmers turn to solar panels or lease their land to developers to mitigate this financial instability. This is a choice they should not be forced to make, however, many rural farmers are finding themselves in this unfortunate situation which could be avoided if they invest in solar technology.