The recipe for a fossil-free future includes a big dollop of solar — and in recent years, that solar has started popping up all around the U.S.
But where, exactly, are the country’s major solar installations located? The map below, created from the U.S. Large-Scale Solar Photovoltaic Database, shows the sites of ground-mounted solar installations in the country with a capacity of 1 megawatt or more. The most recent data available is current through the start of 2022, meaning even more solar is deployed across the country than is shown here.
In Missouri, solar farms have been resisted. Ameren has a long history with coal fired power plants originally with coal from Illinois. That makes electricity inexpensive. The competitive numbers make alternatives not attractive. Missouri ranks fourth in power from coal behind West Virginia, Kentucky, and Wyoming.
The other part is people think covering good quality farm land with solar panels should be a crime. How about put them on worthless desert land?
Ameren is starting to do a few. They have an experimental solar farm in St. Charles County and recently built one near Jonesburg (over local objections).
Their largest coal fired power plant, Labadie, is scheduled to run for another 10 years. And who knows might get converted to biomass.
Partially agree. In the CA central valley I’ve seen a few farms covered with rows and rows of PV panels where the entire row tilts east to west during the day. Each row was on wheels as well. Maybe they do some kind of crop rotation where one field gets nothing to plant and that’s where they position the panel that season?
Yes, the panels often rotate to follow the sun. You need space between them for maintenance. Its possible to grow crops in that space. But not row crops like corn or soybeans. Usually grasses. Let sheep graze there. Not completely unproductive but much less so than row crops.
Do you have a reference for cost of utility scale solar compared to utility scale coal in Missouri?