Frequently asked questions

General

Solar panels are collections of photovoltaic cells that absorb sunlight. The collected particles of light (photons) knock electrons free from atoms, causing a stream of electricity that is collected and delivered to a power company.

A solar farm is a collection of ground-mounted solar panels that work in harmony to produce electricity. Solar farms range in size, with many being large enough to power hundreds of homes. 

The electricity gets redirected into the local utility grid and distributed in the local area through neighboring power lines.

Strata Solar Development works with area landowners who are interested in leasing their land for solar.

At the end of term of the solar project, usually 20-25 years, all panels are removed and recycled, returning the land to its original condition and opening it for agricultural farming or another solar lease with the utility.

After Strata completed its first utility-scale project in 2011, we productized the process so that we could scale quickly to build multiple projects at the same time, without compromising quality or safety.

Environmental

Solar produces zero emissions, fumes, smoke or other toxic byproducts. It’s truly the cleanest form of energy production and by far preferred as a neighbor over other types of power plants.

Solar utilizes a simple, safe, unlimited, reliable fuel source.  The energy produced does not require transmission over long distances.

Sometimes, yes. Utilizing sheep to graze on a solar farm is a safe and environmentally-friendly method of vegetation management that offers no negative impact to the sheep or the land.

While sheep are selective eaters, they can typically graze under the solar panels more easily and effectively than traditional mowing – this is by far the greatest benefit. Grazing offers a reduction in herbicide use and the use of off-road mowers, which can be a costly fuel expense. And for rocky conditions, the use of sheep can offer a solution where traditional mowing can be challenging.

Our in-house vegetation management team plants visual buffers around each of farms, which over time will fill in to shield the array from view. The mix of trees and specific height are determined by the unique needs of the projects.

The environmental benefits that come from using the right plant material to reduce the use of herbicides and off-road mowers helps satisfy the sustainability goals of the customers and communities served by the solar farm. Selecting the right blends can significantly reduce the number of times the site requires mowing, by as much as half, which provides a significant reduction in cost.

Planting native grasses and wildflowers increases native pollinator colonies, which has the added benefit of promoting nearby agricultural practices, which see substantial crop pollination contribution from native bees. Native plants have deeper roots that are more efficient at aiding rainwater infiltration and pollution removal than turfgrass.

Community

Construction is simple and the land can easily be converted back to agricultural use when the project is decommissioned. The equipment leaves no lasting impact and the majority of the equipment is recyclable. And once complete and operational, the site is unmanned and requires only periodic visits for maintenance and vegetation management. As an added bonus, the project will create jobs and tax income for your community!

You can keep your land in the family and earn more than you would growing traditional crops, without all the work, worry and risk. And you’re turning your land into a FIXED REVENUE STREAM with the financial backing of the utility, unlike farm income that is always subject to escalation. Landowners receive an average of between $500 - $800/acre for rent from solar companies, whereas landowners with crop and pasture land only receive between $27 to $102.

Solar for Business

Adding a solar photovoltaic installation to an existing commercial or industrial space is an excellent way to generate electricity while making a positive environmental impact. 

In direct ownership, the project owner is usually responsible for O&M (usually through hiring a third-party solution provider). In a PPA scenario, the power off-taker does not engage on O&M, this responsibility lies with the investor or power plant owner and is usually included in the PPA price.

Going without O&M services may lower the operating costs in the short term but puts the long term investment in the solar system in danger. In case of an unexpected problem such as a component failure or weather-caused break-down, the system is likely to suffer prolonged outage and have a negative impact on power production and investor's financial return.

Asset owners typically sign a long-term maintenance contract with a service provider like Strata Solar Services, who cares for systems of various sizes across the country. In this contract, the service provider includes real-time monitoring of the system, monthly performance reporting to the owner, and annual preventive maintenance intended to prolong the life of all equipment and maintain manufacturer warranties.  If any system outages occur that are not covered by equipment warranties, the service provider presents the owner with a repair proposal along with a cost-benefit analysis indicating the value that the repair will provide.