Solar farms are arguably one of the safest investments around, capable of providing up to 30 years of worry-free, maintenance-free income. But start-up costs for solar farms can be intimidating if investors aren’t aware of the many financing opportunities available.
Banks and other corporations looking to add “green” to their portfolios are quick to sign up to finance solar farms as they realize how lucrative their long-term paybacks can be.
This past October, even the website search engine Google announced it would aggressively seek to finance forms of alternative energy, especially those near their operations centers. Google has invested more than a billion — that’s right; billion with a “B” — dollars into wind and solar farms. That translates into enough energy to power 500,000 homes in America. This initiative caused the mega-company to be dubbed “Bank of Google.”
For the risk-adverse investors (even though solar represents much less risk than the stock market), most solar developers can point potential investors toward financing opportunities. For instance, large solar farm developers in the Western United States are so prevalent now that financing companies have cropped up designed specifically to finance such ventures and nothing else.
Some federal grants (monies which require no re-payment) are even available. The United States Department of Agriculture’s 2002 Farm Bill allows for grants to help farmers who are eligible to purchase solar farms or to improve energy efficiency for their own farms. Ranchers and rural small businesses also qualify for such grants. Loan guarantees are also available from the U.S.D.A. The grants cover buying and installing solar equipment, fees for professional development of solar farms and even fees for permits, business fees and professional fees.