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The Future of Solar Energy Farming

While such a great value has been put into extracting oil from areas of the Middle East, the fact is, the solar energy that could be extracted on any given day from one of these same areas where oil is extracted is far greater than any energy found through the mining of oil. However, a main difference is that oil provides a highly concentrated source of power while solar energy is distributed over a wide area. Because you can only collect solar energy from a wide area, it is important to view the process of getting energy from the sun as “farming” and an agricultural, rather than industrial, model needs to be used in order to “harvest” renewable energy from the sun.

Research on Farming Renewable Energy
Research and Markets just released a new study on the benefits of and future methods for farming renewable energy. When farming renewable energy, large areas of land will be used for energy generation over the next two decades, and, according to the Research and Markets report, this opens up opportunities for the agricultural sector and next generation energy producers.

Some farms have already been active in the energy market through their sale of biomass to be converted into electricity and fuel or by lending their land to wind turbine operators. As with new advancements in solar energy, wind energy, which has already proven to be profitable and eco-friendly, is a technology that is also expanding steadily as the United States tries to lessen its dependency on non-renewable fuel. There is a trial currently going on in Dakota of a hydrogen refueling station powered by wind turbines, a great potential application for energy farming in rural areas.

Improvements in the equipment used to farm solar and companies that are likely to carve out a niche within this market will both help eventually drive down the cost of photovoltaic devices to the point where solar energy farms are self-financing. Research and Markets recognizes the potential of nanotechnology-based materials that extract hydrogen from water when exposed to sunlight which, when fully developed, will provide a step change in the farmed energy market.

According to Research and Markets, in the medium term large-scale energy farming trials - sites with effective areas up to 1km2 - could be worth in excess of $600 million to manufacturers of thin film and polymer based photovoltaic technology.

Solar Renewable Energy Predictions
It is predicted that with these advancements and growth, energy farming would see rural economies within countries empowered and global companies will move operations from Europe to countries within the solar belt, where they can take advantage of low cost renewable energy.

In order for this expansion, the next generation provider needs to be able to enter into the energy market. These next generation entrepreneurs, who are seeking a model that will provide them with a strategic advantage over incumbent providers, will be attracted to the distributed nature of farmed renewable energy.

» For more information on alternative energy visit Energy Voyager.

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