REAL Financial Benefits


As a case study, let’s look at the finances of a REAL-enabled solar farm, that installs 30 acres of solar panels on its property for sale to neighbors. The solar farm could be located on any 30 of the more than 25 million zoned agricultural lands in California. Each small 30 acre solar farm could serve any rural properties located in the surrounding 8,000 acres. These participating neighbors would contract to buy electricity from their neighborhood solar farm owner at significantly discounted rates of about 20 cents, instead of the 30 cents or more that they currently pay.


Costs to build

5 MW of solar panels on 30 acres of land could be built for $1.20 a watt, costing $6 million.

To satisfy the need for power in the evening, adding 5 MWh of battery storage at a cost of 40 cents a watt-hour, would cost $2 million.

This $8 million investment would qualify for a federal IRA tax credit of 30%, or $2.4 million. 

To run solar power to neighbors would cost $50,000 per mile. Assuming a generous 20 miles of distribution lines gives a cost of $1 million.

Each of the neighboring farms would need a meter and a safe interconnect to the transmission lines already on the farm. If 25 neighboring farms use the solar power at a cost of $8,000 per meter, the total cost would be $200,000.

The farms will need to charge their vehicles and can charge others to charge their vehicles on the same chargers. Add the cost of 5 super fast EV charging stations, at a cost of $80,000 each, would cost $400,000.

Legal, engineering & planning = $300,000

Contingency = $500,000

Subtotal $10,400,000

Minus $2.4 million federal credit

Total financing needed: $8 million. 


Annual Investor Payback & Operating Costs

Financing a $8 million solar farm over 20 years with a 11% return on investment, plus financing costs, would be $82,500 per month, or $1,000,000 per year in payments.

Maintenance & repair & replacement:$200,000/year.
Legal, billing, financing & accounting: $100,000/year
Insurance to cover the system would be about $200,000/year.

Total estimated annual expenses would be $1,500,000  



The solar farm is 5 MW. Assuming an average of 6 hours/day of power generation for 330 days/year  produces 9,900 MWh of solar electricity per year. At a price of 20 cents/kilowatt hours  to neighbors, which is a 33% discount to their current costs (average 30+ cents/kw), net revenue per year would equal 

$2,000,000 revenue per year


Annual Profit Bottom Line for Hosting Farm

$2,000,000 revenue – $1,500,000 costs = $500,000 per year


Paid for by the committee to Advance the Renewable Energy Acceleration Law of 2024