Living beyond the reach of utility power is common, especially in extremely rural areas where vacation homes or hunting camps are common. Regardless of whether you currently own rural land or are interested in purchasing rural land, one cost that should not be overlooked is that of getting electricity to the property.
Installing electricity can be expensive depending on a variety of factors. These factors include proximity to the nearest utility source, acreage, zoning regulations, and easements placed on the property. There are also several alternative options for getting power to a rural property outside of connecting to a power company.
The cost and process for installing permanent power
The cost of installing power is heavily dependent upon the process and location, but in most cases you should expect to spend $10,000 or more. Most utility companies will charge you for every foot they have to extend a line to your property and on your property. Ideally, your land is located near an existing power line, which will make it easier and more affordable to connect. If you don't own the property yet, the utility company may be able to provide an estimate for you even before you make a purchase.
In addition, it is important to determine if the utility lines are accessed from public property, such as a roadway, or from private property adjacent to the site. In the latter case, obtaining permission from the property owner is necessary. While this is usually not an issue, it is worth noting that it could potentially raise concerns about the neighbors. Taking these factors into consideration will ensure a smooth and efficient process.
The local utility company should be able to tell you where the nearest power lines are to the property you are considering. LandGate also provides information about proximity to electrical infrastructure in our free property reports for landowners, and in our LandApp tool for realtors and prospective landowners.
Other power options for rural properties
Several alternatives exist for people who are not willing or able to connect to shared power lines. You may opt to use a portable generator, solar panels, or wind turbines. These will each come with unique maintenance requirements that you should factor into your decision.
Portable generators are a good solution if it’s too expensive or difficult to install utility lines on your property. Even if you do connect to the grid, it’s nice to have a generator available during power outages. Portable generators are less expensive up front than solar panels or wind turbines, but they require a fuel source and regular refueling. They also produce noise and burn fossil fuels, which can be a concern for some landowners. On the other hand, they offer flexibility in terms of location and can provide enough power to run small appliances.
When you buy a generator, you are buying watts (amps X volts). Generally, the more watts you want, the higher the price is going to be. Before purchasing one, you’ll have to figure out how many watts you need.
Solar panels or Wind Turbines
Solar panels and wind turbines are another option for powering a rural property. They harness energy from the sun and the wind, and store it in batteries for use when needed. While solar panels and wind turbines can be expensive upfront, they have a low maintenance cost and provide renewable energy. They also produce no pollution, making them an attractive option for environmentally-conscious landowners. However, their effectiveness is dependent on the amount of sunlight and wind speeds available in your area.
To determine how many solar panels or wind turbines you need, consider factors such as your average energy usage, the size of your property, and the amount of sunlight and wind your property receives. A professional installer can assist you in making this calculation.
LandGate's free map-based property reports for landowners break down valuable electrical infrastructure data along with many other factors, offering a thorough view of their property and its resources. Additionally, our marketplace has thousands of rural listings for sale across the country: