Solar Farms: What Are They And How Do They Work?

solar farm

Solar panels are the cash crop of the 21st century. Many different sized farms are popping up all over the world. Some of them are small and they are used to power communities while some are big enough to power more than just one community.


In the past ten years, the solar industry has been booming, and most of the success that it experienced is due to the emergence of solar parks or farms. In America alone, solar parks generate enough electricity to supply about more than fifteen million homes. In this article, we’ll look at the different types of solar farms available and how they operate.

What is a Solar Farm?

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s look at what a solar farm is. In simple terms, a solar farm is a collection of solar panels that convert energy from the sun into electrical energy. This electricity is then sent to the power grid which is how it’s distributed to homes where it’s used to power appliances. The solar panels in solar farms are usually mounted on the ground as opposed to on rooftops.

Types of Solar Farms

There are two main types of solar farms, these are community solar farms and utility-scale farms. The key difference between these two types of farms is size. Utility-scale solar farms are a lot larger than community solar farms.


When it comes to capacity, utility-scale solar farms can handle anywhere between 1 MW to 2,000 MW, whereas community solar farms are usually under 5 MW in size. It’s also possible to find community solar farms that have a capacity that is below 100 kW.


The second difference has to do with where the electricity from the farm goes. Utility-scale solar farms serve utility companies and all their customers. On the other hand, community solar farms serve a community of individual homes who have paid for a share of their power.

How do They Work?

Solar Panels

A solar panel is basically a collection of photovoltaic solar cells that are made of silicon. These cells are combined to form a network of cells that gathers energy from the sun. Each solar cell gathers a small amount of energy, but combined they can generate a considerable amount of electricity which is why they are combined to create farms. The farms feature large arrays of solar panels.


The solar panels are installed on multiple small towers covering a large area of ground. Unlike the panels on rooftops that are fixed, these panels can be moved around so that they are always at the best angle for harvesting the sun’s rays.

From the Farm to the Grid

There are several pieces of equipment found on solar farms which make it possible for electricity to be generated and distributed. These include the panels themselves, racking, the cables, inverters, transformers, and the power lines that are used to transmit the electricity to the grid. Once the electricity is generated, it is sent via an inverter to an electric utility company for distribution.


Solar experts estimate that for every 5MW installed, a solar farm can supply electricity to at least 1,500 homes yearly. There are several advantages to having solar farms. The first advantage is that the land use is reversible. Also, there is minimal maintenance required when running a solar farm as compared to thermal and hydro power stations that have moving parts. Finally, solar farms are very environmentally friendly, there is no by-product waste and they have an almost non-existent environmental impact.


Solar farms utilize the sun, which is a renewable source of energy therefore they are a good way to reduce the carbon footprint we leave. They also help to reduce utility bills since the electricity they generate tends to be cheaper.


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