On Monday, I made a trip to Antelope Valley to see my recent land investment. I bought a 2.5 acre parcel of land west of Lancaster using funds in a retirement account to diversify my long term investments.
One of the reasons I chose to invest in this area is the rapid growth of renewable energy projects and future demand. My parcel is located within 3 miles of five solar energy projects: Element Power, Antelope Solar, Recurrent 1, Recurrent 2 and Silverado #5.
Here are some reasons you may consider land investing in the Antelope Valley.
City of Lancaster’s Commitment to Renewable Energy
Lancaster is a city of about 156,000 and is about 70 miles north of Los Angeles in the Antelope Valley. Given that fact that the city has 350 annual days of sunshine, Lancaster is an ideal location for solar facilities.
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris leads the campaign for Lancaster to become one of the world’s first net zero city by 2020.
To kick start the net zero city campaign, Mayor Parris led the launch of the “Solar Lancaster” program, an innovative public-private partnership with solar firm SolarCity which enables local residents and businesses to install solar energy systems at a significant cost savings over their existing energy bills.
In April 2013 at the Pathways to 100% Renewable Energy Conference in San Francisco, Mayor Parris emphasized the renewable energy growth happening in the city. Lancaster well exceeds more affluent cities such as San Jose and San Diego in the generation of “solar watts per capita.” San Diego provides 38 watts per capita, while San Jose boasts 61 watts per capita. The City of Lancaster more than doubles the latter with 177 watts per capita.
The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) sets goals for the reduction of statewide greenhouse gas emissions. AB 32 mandates that California reaches 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
Senate Bill 375 (SB 375), also known as the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, requires California’s urban regions to achieve mandated greenhouse gas reductions through coordinated transportation and land use. SB 375 serves as the nation’s first ever law to associate global warming with land use planning and transportation.
These laws will require smart urban planning and force municipalities to find alternatives to fossil fuels to generate energy.
San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is Closed
The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, once a major supplier of power for Southern California, closed last year. An equipment failure in January 2012 led to Southern California Edison Co. to close the plant 18 months later.
The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station produced about 2,200 megawatts, which was enough electricity to power 1.4 million households. Alternative energy sources will be needed in Southern California.
Solar and Wind Projects Reach 40,000 Acres in Just 4 Years
The Antelope Valley has seen a surge in development of renewable energy projects. The map below shows all solar and wind projects that are built or in progress across the western Antelope Valley. Over 40,000 acres of land has been developed or will be developed to harness solar and wind energy. The blue lines represent transmission lines that will transport the electricity from the these projects into Los Angeles.
New Solar Facilities Continue to be Built in the Antelope Valley
The New York Times published an article this month about sPower and JinkoSolar partnering on a 34 megawatt project in the Antelope valley. Once fully operational, the new facility is projected to generate enough clean solar energy to serve the needs of over 4,000 homes. The facilities are expected to commence operations by November 30, 2014.
An investor buys an asset based on what it will do over time. Never buy anything you can’t hold for 10 years. A speculator buys and sells on the movement of price going up or down. – Warren Buffet
If you are concerned about the volatility of the stock market and how that affects your retirement money, you should consider diversifying some funds into land investments. The great thing about investing in land is that you don’t need to worry about tenants or maintenance. The only costs are property tax and any fees your self-directed IRA charges.
This is a long term investment, so expect to wait 5 to 10 years before selling the parcel for a profit. A 20% annualized return on your investment is average after the sale of land in an area of growth like the Antelope Valley. Only time will tell what type of return I will see on my investment, but I also like the idea of owning a tangible asset like land.
My dad bought a land investment in the 1970’s for a few thousand dollar and he held on to it all the way until he passed away earlier this year. He left the land to my mom and that asset has given her financial security even after he has passed on. I share the same goal as my dad when I bought this parcel: to provide long term financial security for my family.
Solar Action Alliance
Solar Action Alliance is a group of environmentalists who want to spread the word about the most clean, reliable, and abundant source of renewable energy: the sun. Even if you don’t invest in land to become future solar farms, you can support the solar cause and take action today! Sign this petition showing your support for solar and a greener world: solaractionalliance.org/petition.