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Solar Sketch
Phoebus Fund, LLC

Phillipsburg: Revolutionary solar energy plan for panels over farmland

The farmer receives a diversified source of income by agreeing to host the panels. The only land lost to agriculture is in a series of maintenance strips next to the panels. See Jacks Solar Garden for another example of crops and solar.

Phoebus Fund LLC, based in Williamstown, Gloucester County, is proposing the installation of 22 megawatts of solar power on farmland along the 1700 block of Belvidere Road in Lopatcong Township.

The proposal is unique in that the panels are installed 15 to 17 feet above the ground so that most of the land can still be farmed, according to Andrew Kennedy, partner with the Phoebus Fund. It’s a concept known as agrivoltaics that has been used in Italy, Germany, Japan, and Arizona, he said.

“We can grow almost anything under these plates,” said Kennedy. “In addition, our equipment serves as the foundation for irrigation and other types of agricultural equipment so that the farm can not only continue to operate but even improve over time”…

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Winter
iStock

Numb to the World

One problem with the onslaught of negative environmental news — extinctions, oil spills, and so on — is that people become numb to it, as Barney Long, senior director of conservation strategies at the nonprofit Re:wild, told Vox last fall.

On August 1 1955, a telling photograph was featured in Life magazine. The photograph depicted cans, frozen foods containers, disposable diapers, garbage bags, and a paper tablecloth falling from the sky like rain onto a smiling couple who were raising their arms towards the tumbling sea of trash. The caption underneath the photo read, “Throwaway living: disposable items cut down household chores.” The photograph reflected a paradigm shift away from the pre-World War II ‘waste not want not’ philosophy of living and toward a more wasteful zeitgeist.

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Solar Company
ENEL

Aurora Solar Project, USA

What is assumed to be the largest solar sheep flock in the United States operates from the MNL grazing facility and has been grazing Enel’s 150-MW Aurora project since 2017.

Renewable energy for a sustainable future: We seek out energy around the globe: in the power of wind and water, in the heat of the sun, in the depths of the earth and, above all, in people.

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Sheep
iStock

An integrated approach to land management

What is assumed to be the largest solar sheep flock in the United States operates from the MNL grazing facility and has been grazing Enel’s 150-MW Aurora project since 2017.

MNL developed the Conservation Grazing Program in order to provide the most ecologically comprehensive land management services in the region. Through the planned impact of livestock grazing, we provide an additional tool for land managers on large and small tracts of land, both public and privately owned, to achieve ecological goals.

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wildflowers
Charles Larry/The Nature Conservancy

Person to know: Susan Joy Hassol

“The only thing that’s dumb,” Hassol said, “is speaking to people in language that they don’t understand"...

Susan Joy Hassol is a climate change communicator, analyst, and author known for her ability to translate science into English, making complex issues accessible to policymakers and the public for 30 years.

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Amanda Gorman

“Earthrise” by Amanda Gorman

Sometimes sharing a poem or image is a powerful way to connect with those around you. For me, music and poetry provide a place to slow down and connect to what I care about. If you haven't listened to Amanda Gorman recite this poem, you may enjoy it.

“On Christmas Eve, 1968, astronaut Bill Anders
Snapped a photo of the earth
As Apollo 8 orbited the moon…”

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Kids On Trail
iStock

Psychologists are learning how to bolster the health of humans and the environment as the planet warms

Land and water conservation, and climate solutions, need to support those who will treasure it for generations to come. With increasing stress on people, as well as natural systems, we need to think holistically and be honest about the solutions.

“We are concerned about the findings,” said Clayton, a psychology professor at the College of Wooster in Ohio. “Negative emotions and pessimistic beliefs can be a source of stress that leads to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.” Nearly half of the participants reported that their feelings about climate change negatively affected aspects of their daily lives, such as sleeping, socializing, school, and work…

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Agri Solar Clearing House

What is the AgriSolar Clearinghouse?

Solar installations may cover more than 3 million acres of the United States over the next decade, opening the door for PV to be paired with agricultural land to produce food, conserve ecosystems, and maximize income for farmers. This opportunity, led by the National Center for Appropriate Technology to launch, is said to be the nation’s first AgriSolar Clearinghouse to connect farmers, ranchers, land managers, solar developers, and researchers with information about co-locating solar and agriculture...

The AgriSolar Clearinghouse is an information-sharing, relationship-building, public communications hub for all things agrisolar. The AgriSolar community will:

  • Connect farmers, developers, researchers, and the public
  • Provide practical technical assistance
  • Develop best practices and innovative solutions to barriers
  • Evaluate innovative financing options
  • Promote sustainable agrisolar opportunities
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Solar Symposium

Virtual Solar Symposium

I thought you might appreciate the upcoming Solar and Wildlife/Natural Resources Symposium from December 1st – 3rd. It's remote; they will share recordings after the sessions if you are busy during that time. There's a very interesting mix of speakers and topics. American Farmland Trust, Defenders of Wildlife, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Audubon Society, and American Solar Grazing Association are presenting, to name a few. 

Dual-use solar is increasingly recognized as a way to accelerate climate “mitigation” (slowing down) while enhancing farm and ranch viability, soil health, and water management.

For many people in the conservation field, as well as community members, this perspective and the supporting data require a paradigm shift.

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Aft

Farmers combat climate change

Farmers can be part of the climate solution — and many already are. If you or your land trust works with farmers, you might consider how to amplify the positive change agriculture can be.

American Farmland Trust is committed to making U.S. agriculture climate neutral. To do so, we are elevating the role of farmers and farmland in adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change. From policy leadership, coalition building, and training, to research and on-the-ground demonstration projects, we are working to scale up the adoption of regenerative and soil health-promoting agricultural systems…

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