Dividends and Solar power projects see the light on former Appalachian coal mining land

Every day and month and year will bring more and more solar and wind projects on stream across the world. From an investor point of view, the electricity generated will be sold in the grid, every day and after the up front capital costs, the solar and wind act similar to utility stocks. The rate is regulated by state agencies which tends to go up each year and investors receive their dividends. As the country moves towards more solar and wind, where they should go is a good sign of good things to see in the future.

In many areas of the country, there was surface mining to bring what is down in the ground to the surface. The process is to either dig very big holes in the ground or remove the top of hills and mountains to remove the mineral. In Appalachia the large concentration of coal meant millions of acres of land were used for mining. What happens to the land afterwards?

In an article by Carey L Biron of Reuters, there are proposals to bring solar farms to essential waste land and boost economic fortunes in the area. If the areas have large solar farms, the farms can pay municipal taxes which can improve the lives of the people in the area.

In the article two companies Sun Tribe and Dominion Energy are proposing enough solar farms to power 30,000 homes.

The US government formally began looking at putting renewal energy installations on distributed land including mines and toxic landfills. Since then RE-Powering America’s Land program has mapped more than 100,000 potential sites covering more than 44 million acres and helped establish more than 417 installations producing 1.8 gigawatts of electricity. (Think of the agency as similar to the US Geological Survey which determines where minerals are located).

Linking to dividend paying stocks, we all believe the country is large and it is, but over generations parts of the land has been misused. We can look at agriculture (where early settlers planted crops, the nutrients in the soil was depleted and the solution was move west). In many states because of the farmers moving west the country was populated. For generations we took out minerals from the earth, it is good news to see some of the lands will be used for solar farms. For dividend investors as long as the electricity is being provided, how it is provided does not matter, but when the sun shines and the electricity is produced, it is a good day.

There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.


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