Agrivoltaics looks at farming around and among solar panels
If you are driving to the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC), look along U.S. Highway 59 for large pastures where cows graze among solar panels.
The cows, under the direction of Bradley Heins, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, use the panels for shade and shelter.
Double cropping solar power and organic dairy production works successfully here, but the concept — called agrivoltaics — is still very new…
Coastal Rivers takes leap towards carbon neutrality with solar array
For those who braved mud or ice to stroll the slopes at Round Top Farm this winter, they may have spotted something shiny and new in the southwest field behind Darrows Barn.
As of Jan. 3, contractors with ReVision Energy completely installed eight rows of solar panels on a one-acre parcel at the farm and are in the process of finishing the wiring on the array. ReVision broke ground on the project in the fall.
Hannah McGhee, Coastal Rivers outreach and communications manager, said the location for the panels was selected for the minimal impact it would have on the visual landscape at Round Top for the public and abutters.
Solar sharing for both food and clean energy production
Research on the performance of agrivoltaic systems for corn, a typical shade-intolerant crop.
This article concerns research conducted at a 100-m2 experimental farm with three sub-configurations: no modules (control), low module density, and high module density. In each configuration, 9 stalks/m2 were planted 0.5 m apart. The biomass of corn stover grown in the low-density configuration was larger than that of the control configuration by 4.9%. Also, the corn yield per square meter of the low-density configuration was larger than that of the control by 5.6%.
The future of farming?
Large solar arrays have begun to line the Wallkill Valley landscape. Solar farms are springing to life where agriculture — and in one case a miniature golf course — once ruled the land.
But what if a farmer wanted to continue to grow crops on a farm and was able to plant and grow them underneath solar panels that alternately allowed for shade and sunlight for the crops? What if the farmer could lease space to the provider of solar energy and earn additional income while continuing to operate the farm?
This concept, known as agrivoltaics, is catching on. It could soon come to the Town of Montgomery, provided a change in the town’s solar laws is approved…
Sustainable farm agrivoltaic project
Solar panels can be positioned to allow plants just the right amount of sunlight, and then the excess sunlight can be harvested for electricity — and produce more than they would without crops below them.
That’s right. Plants help keep the solar panels cool, which makes them more productive. Our studies have shown that panels positioned above plants produce up to 10% more electricity.
Agrivoltaics is a symbiotic relationship where both the solar panels and the crops benefit because they help each other perform better.
Farming collaborative plan looks to keep land accessible, open
Under the land collaborative model, the property will not solely be devoted to agriculture; Sanford-Long’s animals will share land with a planned solar array…
Farms will harvest food and the sun, as Mass. pioneers ‘dual-use’ solar
Paul Knowlton owns 300 acres of land in Grafton, and farms about 50. The farm has been in his family for five generation, ever since Knowlton’s great-great-grandfather settled in the Blackstone Valley in 1872.
These days Knowlton grows pumpkins, squash and corn. Up a gravel road, past the family cemetery, corn stalks are still standing from this year’s crop. “Considering the drought situation, we did fair,” Knowlton says.
Solar meets sheep (and bees, and more)
Often solar panels sit on former agricultural land, but aren’t what we’d otherwise think of as a farm.
Agrivoltaics aims to change that by hosting PV panels and agriculture on the exact same land. Often, livestock like sheep graze under the solar panels. Sometimes the projects include pollinator habitat as well, which can benefit biodiversity, honey production, or adjacent pollinator-dependent crops. And trials are being done growing shaded crops under raised panels, too…
Research shows solar habitat installations support pollinators
Join Monarch Joint Venture, Connexus Energy, MNL, and Fresh Energy for a free webinar where they dig into the new study, “Monitoring Pollinators on Minnesota Solar Installation,” which used field data collection practices to document an abundance of bees, butterflies, moths, flies, and wasps utilizing pollinator-friendly solar habitat in Minnesota. We’ll also discuss seed mixes and biodiversity benefits, how utilities and co-ops can lead, and more.
Development by design: Mitigating wind development’s impacts on wildlife in Kansas
Wind energy, if improperly sited, can impact wildlife through direct mortality and habitat loss and fragmentation, in contrast to its environmental benefits in the areas of greenhouse gas, air quality, and water quality. Fortunately, risks to wildlife from wind energy may be alleviated through proper siting and mitigation offsets. Here we identify areas in Kansas where wind development is incompatible with conservation, areas where wind development may proceed but with compensatory mitigation for impacts, and areas where development could proceed without the need for compensatory mitigation.