A solar farm in field

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What are the pros and cons of solar farms? How can developers address local apprehensions and advance larger energy objectives?

Many rural US communities resist the development of solar farms, fearing their environmental impact, destabilization of local economies, and perceived inequitable returns. Solar supporters argue that the minimal risks from solar farms are outweighed by significant benefits.

Here’s a look at both sides of the solar farm argument.

Are Solar Farms Worth It?

Solar farms are key to the US’s clean energy ambitions, but their development faces stiff opposition in rural communities, threatening their expansion. Here are the pros and cons of solar farms in the United States.


Solar farms, considered among the cheapest, fastest sources of renewable energy, are instrumental in achieving President Biden’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035. Industry experts say that to realize this objective, solar-powered electricity must multiply sixfold—from 5% today to 30% by 2030. While rooftop panels can address some of this demand, larger solar projects are necessary to meet the ambitious target.

Rural regions, especially farmlands, are considered prime locations for solar farms due to their flat terrains and proximity to transmission lines. By 2040, solar development is expected to consume nearly 2.5 million acres in the US—83% of it farmland. This surge could fuel a bidding war for prime farmland between deep-pocketed utility firms and farmers.

Solar Skepticism 

Many communities are skeptical of developers’ promises and oppose the farms, concerned that solar projects will:

Solar Support

Supporters of rural solar farms contend that proper siting and construction practices can minimize risks related to vegetation clearing and environmental and wildlife habitat disruption. They further argue that the benefits of solar to rural communities are numerous, including that the farms:

Looking Ahead

Experts say that solar developers must foster strong relationships with local communities to improve their receptiveness to solar farms in rural areas. This requires adopting a more comprehensive approach, including:

The Pros and Cons of Solar Farms in the United States

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Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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