How much land do I need to build a 5 MW Solar farm?

How much land do I need to build a 5 MW Solar farm?

August 2023
 min reading

Building a solar farm is not an easy undertaking, so here are a few things to keep in mind, including how much space you will need.

The amount of land required for a 5 MW solar farm depends on various factors, such as the type of solar panels used, panel efficiency, spacing, and local solar irradiance. In general, a rough estimate for the land area needed for a solar farm is about 4 to 6 acres per megawatt (MW) of installed capacity.

Considering this range, a 5 MW solar farm would require approximately 20 to 30 acres (8 to 12 hectares) of land. Keep in mind that these figures are rough estimates and the actual land requirement for your specific project may differ.

Factors that can influence the land requirements include:

  1. Panel efficiency: Higher efficiency solar panels generate more electricity per unit area, potentially reducing the amount of land needed.
  2. Type of solar mounting system: The choice between fixed-tilt or tracking systems will impact the spacing requirements between solar panels. Tracking systems typically require more space as they need to avoid shading each other as they follow the sun's path across the sky.
  3. Spacing between rows: To minimize shading and improve airflow, rows of solar panels need to be spaced appropriately. More spacing might be needed in regions with lower sun angles or to accommodate maintenance and cleaning equipment.
  4. Terrain and site characteristics: The land's topography, soil type, and environmental constraints, such as floodplains or protected habitats, will also influence the amount of usable space within a given area.
  5. Additional infrastructure: Don't forget to account for space needed for access roads, electrical equipment, inverters, transformers, and substations, as well as any buffer zones or setbacks required by local regulations.

Before planning a solar farm, it's essential to perform a detailed site analysis, consider local permitting requirements, and consult with an experienced solar project developer to obtain a more accurate estimate of the land area needed for your specific project.