Investing in Solar Farms vs. Solar Stocks: Guide to Solar Income (Calculator)

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Solar Panels | March 29, 2024

Man points to a data chart explaining investing in solar farms vs. solar stocks and outlining how to invest in solar energy stocks with solar farm investment and solar farm investors.

If you’re considering building some additional income through solar power, you might wonder whether investing in a solar farm vs buying solar stocks would be better.

Everyone is different, so the key to determining which is best for you is to understand the positives and negatives involved in each.

Despite being more capital-intensive, solar farm investments are a fantastic method to get dependable renewable energy. They aren’t as green as some other forms of energy, like hydroelectric or even nuclear (for now), but in the right location, a solar farm can have been benefits.

In contrast, solar stocks are among the most successful investments compared to other assets like bonds and stocks.

It all depends on the location and possible outcomes. This complete guide to investing in solar farms explains everything you need to know.

Related Reading: Solar Panel Carbon Offsets

How To Invest in Solar Energy

With the increased supply of solar panels over the last few years, solar power has been cheaper and easy to acquire. Customers find it cost-effective, and although solar panels themselves are carbon intensive to create and dispose of, it still beats fossil fuel electric generation.

These factors make the industry very lucrative; the following are ways to benefit from it as an investor.

Keep in mind, there is an ecological cost to a solar farm, when it’s situated where land used to have thriving forests or grasses.

Solar Farms

Investing in solar farms can be rewarding, based on your starting capital, the size of your land, the sunlight intensity in the region, and how close you are to the grid.

The more massive your land and the higher your seed capital, the more solar income you will enjoy.

Your farm will have a more output if you have more panels and if there are more sunlight hours and no weather interference.

Land Leasing

If you are uncertain about starting a solar farm, you can partner with another company by leasing your land.

Grassy open field with the sky in the background.

(Image: congerdesign15)

They come in with the expertise and equipment and set everything on your farm, paying you based on an agreed rate based on the size and other factors.

Again, the eco-cost to the land can be considerable, unlike hydro power that can utilize existing waterways.


Firms realizing the potential of renewable energy have also started ETFs for solar energy.1

These iShare facilities provide special ETFs focusing on environmental initiatives, and you can buy and sell them on various brokerages.


Solar companies have been making a killing selling equipment and providing services to consumers.

They earn through their panels, batteries, peripheral devices, and installation, and the best part is that they allow you to own shares and earn dividends.

Thanks to 2006’s Solar Investment Tax Credit, the companies have registered a 52% growth rate.2 With careful research and following the market trends, you can find the perfect solar company to invest in for a handsome reward.12

Why Invest in Solar Stocks?

Governments are pushing for net zero carbon emissions, and renewable energy is the best place to start. If this is to succeed by 2050, according to the Paris Climate Agreement, more people should adopt solar and wind power.3

Incentives like tax credits and equipment availability facilitate this, and soon clients will come flooding.

Investing in solar farms and buying stocks in companies makes you a part of this, and since the industry is the future, you are guaranteed a high return on Investment (ROI).

Graphics of the summary of investment tax credit table showing the different tax incentive rates for solar power facility construction.

The table above shows the summary of business tax credits for investing in solar power systems.13

The output capacity has increased, and the pressure due to climate change makes it more attractive for investment. More consumers are making the ethical and cost-effective decision to switch to solar power, explaining why China has increased its global supply.

Now is the best time to hop onto the train and reap the benefits while the industry rapidly grows.

Regardless of the footprint of solar energy, everyone has a personal carbon ecological footprint and can measure it using a calculator.

What Are the Best Solar Energy Stocks?

Many companies dealing in renewable energy are available and open for investors. However, some stand out based on their stellar performance and attractive prospects.

Below are a few of the best solar stocks to buy now.

First Solar

First Solar is a world-famous solar panel manufacturer and is one of the best places to invest as a first-timer. It keeps expanding as the demand for solar panels increases and is sure to grow bigger to meet the increased demand in the future.

It has contracts to produce equipment up to 2025 and has an impressive balance sheet compared to other firms.

Besides, it boasts a massive cushioning amount owing to the $1.3- $1.5 Billion it had expected to earn by the end of 2022.4

Brookfield Renewable

This company is another global leader in renewable energy and one of the best companies to invest in.

While it focuses on hydro and wind, it is scaling its solar energy production in a few years, evidenced by its acquisition of several solar energy companies like Urban Grid.

SolarEdge Technologies

This company specializes in creating inverters, essential components of the entire solar energy system.

It also widened its services to other energy solutions and bought other clean energy companies to improve the technology and acquire more expertise in the industry.

Invest in Solar: Investing in Solar Farms vs. Solar Stocks

You can easily invest in solar in two ways: investing in solar farms or investing in solar stocks.

Investing in a solar farm is basically purchasing a large piece of land,5 purchasing solar panels, installing solar panels in your farm, and distributing solar energy to users at a profit. This form of investment requires huge capital as you need to purchase the large farm, solar panels, and the overall installation costs involved.

Investing in solar stocks entails purchasing shares from top-notch solar companies which allows the public to trade solar stocks.

Solar stock investment is among the key ways you can help the environment to go green. This is because you will be financing the production of solar panels which are in constant demand.

Solar stock investment is an ever-growing market expecting annual growth of 7%. However, like any other trade market, this market experiences periodic uptrends, downtrends, and swings.

Therefore, you can trade in these publicly traded solar companies expecting such variations.

What Is the ROI of Investing in Solar Farms?

Considering the high initial cost, investing in solar farms may seem daunting.

Considering how much do solar panels cost for a house, you will need more money to buy an entire farm, not counting other equipment and installation costs.

Bird's eye-view of a solar farm with rows of solar panel systems installed on a field.

(Image: TheOtherKev16)

You may be motivated by the ethical nature of investing in clean energy, but the venture should also be lucrative. Luckily, the ROI makes solar farming worth your money.

You may invest a million on a massive large-scale farm, but the best part is that you will earn revenue for years. On average, the ROI for a standard-size farm is 10-20%, and in most cases, you will pay off your system in 5-10 years, based on several factors.

After that, you will have 30 years or more of free power. To make the most out of your farm, you need a massive space near a grid, your weather should be favorable, and there should be a high demand from the locals.

What Is the Solar Farm Income per Acre?

Your farm size plays a significant role in determining your solar energy income. If you have a massive piece of land, you can expect $21,250- $42,500 per acre in revenue annually.

The rate usually changes based on several underlying factors. Below are factors determining your solar income per acre of land.

Size of the Farm

While community solar farms are usually small-scale and reap less money, mega-million-dollar projects are more profitable. The larger the farm and the more capital, the higher the ROI.

Generally, you can expect 1Kw from the solar panels per 100 square feet.6 Therefore, the larger the land, the more the sheets; consequently, the higher the power and the more your profits.

Location of the Grid

Before becoming a solar farmer, you must check whether you have all the necessary infrastructure.7 The grid is the most important because you will transmit power to utility companies.

If it is too far from the farm, you must spend more on building one, reducing your ROI.


The sun is the primary power source for the entire project, and you should carefully consider whether your location receives enough sunlight for a high power output.

Solar panel system under direct sunlight with the sky in the background.

(Image: Analogicus17)

There should be more sunlight hours and less weather interference; otherwise, your revenue will drop. Avoid setting up near tall buildings and trees that will cast shadows on the panels because they will affect the solar panel performance.

A solar farm income per acre calculator is the most convenient way to determine your total revenue. You enter the data of your solar farm into the software, and it automatically calculates how much you will make from it.

You enter how much you used to finance the whole project, the land’s size, total power output from the farm, utility rate, and debts.

Then the tool will account for all the details shared, calculate and submit the results, whereby you can use the results for future reference.

How To Start Investing in Solar Farms: How Do Solar Farms Make Money?

If you are prepared to invest in solar farms, below are key steps you can follow that will guarantee success.

#1: Conduct Thorough Research

Like any other business, you should do thorough research, especially if you are a first-timer. Ask and answer the following questions:

  • How much capital do I need?
  • How big should my land be?
  • How much will I make an acre?
  • What are the types of solar panels required, and how many solar panels do I need?
  • Who will maintain the farm?
  • Are there specific legal requirements in my area?
  • What are the pros and cons of solar farming?

#2: Prepare the Business Plan

The second step is to draw up a business plan, and you can invite professionals to help. They will provide you with an accurate cost estimate and the projected ROI.

Additionally, you have to know your target market, suppliers, rates, and other important aspects of at least ten years.

#3: Legal Requirements

The next vital step is registration if you have your business plan ready.

You are required to abide by your state’s laws on starting solar farms, and the most convenient way is to hire a lawyer to handle everything for you.8

He will ensure that you have acquired all the legal certifications.

#4: Find Land

If you have the perfect location for your solar farm, the next step is to acquire the land. You can use your private land, buy one for more space, or lease.

Some farmers also share community farms and pay for part of the land where they erect the panels. For starters, 15 acres will be sufficient, and if you have the capital, you can start the buying or leasing process (consider leasing for 50 years to avoid removing the equipment within a short time).9

#5: Erect the Required Structures

The next stage is to set up the power structures to get the farm running. You can contact a solar firm to help with the supplies, installation, and maintenance.

For a smooth process, it is best to call one company to avoid the complications of dealing with several firms.

#6: Send Proposals to Prospective Clients

Immediately the farm is running, you need to find clients to whom you can distribute power. Building such a network will help keep you in business and generate revenue.

The firms and individuals who want to switch to clean, renewable energy will seek your services. The best places to check include real estate developments, learning institutions, hotels, government offices, and other nearby property owners.

You can also create a service charge and the payment method for your solar power.

Which Is the Largest Solar Farm in the US?

The Solar Star, California, completed in 2015, is currently the largest solar farm in the US and the world. Housing more than 1.7 million panels across 13 square kilometers, the plant generates over 500MW of energy.

Although, there is a new solar farm in Indiana that is under construction that will be greater than the size of Solar Star.

What Is the Carbon Footprint for Solar Panels?

According to research done to evaluate the carbon footprint: solar panels, it was found that two-thirds of the emissions from solar energy come from manufacturing panels and other materials.

However, the rate is reduced compared to other sources of energy. For instance, at about 25.8 kg of emissions per MWh, it is 18 times less than natural gas and 20 times lower than coal.

What Are the Best Places for Solar Farm Investment?

Solar income can be rewarding regardless of the location, provided there is sufficient sunlight and proximity to relevant infrastructure.

Some places have favorable policies like tax incentives and high demand for renewable energy, making them more profitable for solar investors.10

The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, situated in Nevada and one of the best places for solar farm investment.

(Image: Kindel Media14)

If you are wondering, where are solar farms located? you will find them in the following places.

  • Massachusetts: Residents in this region often decry high electricity costs and desire to switch to more cost-friendly alternatives like solar power.

There are also tax credits coupled with high demand. Therefore, you should have a high return on investment within a short time.

  • New York: On average, your money should pay back in 6 years after investing in New Jersey or New York.

Such places have high power consumption due to the freezing winters and hot summers due to heating and cooling systems. Therefore, supplying cheaper electricity will lead to high ROI.

  • Hawaii: With a 4-year payback period, it’s no wonder the island is a top spot for solar farming. The factors contributing to this are the high electricity costs and the state’s focus on the residents switching to clean energy.11

The other states perfect for investing in solar farms include California, Nevada, Georgia, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Vermont.

What Solar Farm Investors Should Know About the Business

Before investing in solar farms or buying stocks from renewable energy companies, knowing the positives and drawbacks of what you’re getting into is crucial.

Graphics of investing in solar farms and solar stocks showing cartoon images of its advantages and disadvantages.

The following sections list down the different advantages and disadvantages of investing in solar power.

Advantages of Investing in Solar Power

Here are some of the advantages of investing in solar power.

  1. It is sustainable- Unlike fossil fuels and natural gas, solar energy can never run out. There is an unlimited supply of it, and you can enjoy the revenues for a lifetime.
  2. Favorable conditions- If you are considering setting up a solar farm, there are several places, especially in the southwestern part of the country, with massive land and intense sunlight.
  3. Low environmental impact- Unlike fossil fuel companies, you don’t have to worry about solar farms adversely affecting the environment. Solar power generates low GHG emissions than coal and oil.
  4. Convenient power supply- Other energy sources are only available in certain places, but solar power is everywhere, and you can set up your farm wherever you want.

Disadvantages of Investing in Solar Power

Here are some of the disadvantages of investing in solar power.

  1. Solar power generation is intermittent, unavailable at night, and unreliable during seasonal changes and bad weather like heavy cloud cover and rainfall unless you store it.
  2. Some materials used for solar power equipment are rare, but thankfully, the demand is high to encourage more extraction.
  3. Disposal of used electronics is a menace

As a fast-growing sector, the future of solar power is bright, and the best time to invest is now that the demand for solar panels and solar energy is high. Solar energy is among the top environmental-friendly sources of energy.

Solar panels report a lower amount of carbon emission compared to other sources of energy. Also, you can be part of the socially conscious team by investing in a solar farm or solar stock.

By understanding how investing in solar farms vs solar stocks works, you can make the best decision for yourself and the planet.

Note: information is for entertainment purposes. No financial or legal advice is intended.

Frequently Asked Questions About Investing in Solar Farms

Is Investing in Solar Farms Worth It?

Due to the increased demand for solar energy and companies’ high supply of solar panels, investing now in solar farms is worth every penny. It may require heavy financing to start but breaks even in a few years, provided that you do thorough research and find the right partners and clients.

Who Owns Solar Farms?

China is the leading producer of solar panels and equipment and has the highest number of solar farms globally. It has the highest rate of solar power production at over 300 GW, while other countries are trying to reach their level.


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