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Many Solar Panels
Judy Anderson

Best practices in local review of community solar in rural areas

The Columbia Land Conservancy is hosting a series of webinars about community solar. Your area land trust could do this too. You can listen to the first webinar and download the slides, all of which are very informative.

Community solar projects have numerous novel features, compared to other types of development. During this session, Adriana Beltrani, an Environmental Planner with the firm Nelson, Pope, Voorhis will present what to look for in a complete site plan application package and explore ways for local planning boards to ensure that information about important resources and other local priorities are considered during the site design and review.

The session seeks to provide attendees with the tools to appropriately investigate, avoid, and mitigate potential impacts from solar projects…

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Solar Install
Taos Land Trust

Producing energy while protecting the land

Some of the most innovative land trusts are small and nimble. In 2017, Taos Land Trust was already focused on climate change and modeling how to make a difference. Today, other land trusts are realizing that compatible solar is going to need to be at the core of their conservation efforts — just like invasive species management.

“Part of our work as a community land trust is to help reframe the energy debate and build community energy resiliency.

…[W]e flipped the switch on our first solar energy array and as of today more than 50% of the energy we use to run Taos Land Trust is generated by our new solar panels. The 2kW photovoltaic array sitting on our downtown Taos property was installed through a generous grant from the PPC Solar Photovoltaic Donation Program. This is a huge move for us…”

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Cows
iStock

Farming to mitigate the effects of climate change

Land trusts are working to help their communities understand how farming can be part of the solution.

At Bailey and Sarah Williamson Preserve, farmers will be using regenerative methods to help mitigate and reverse the effects of climate change. Industrial-conventional agriculture models have focused on single-crop operations that have exceeded the natural carrying capacity of the land, ruining soil, water, habitat, and air quality. Regenerative methods seek to reverse some of this damage by rebuilding degraded soils, increasing biodiversity, and creating healthy, fair, and just food systems…

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Owls
Gorder Ellmers/Grassland Bird Trust

Argyle bird trust working with solar developer to conserve more land

With so many birds at risk due to climate change, finding ways for renewables to work with them is increasingly important.

“We’re excited about this collaboration and look forward to working with Eden on future mitigation projects,” said Grassland Bird Trust Executive Director Laurie LaFond. “We believe that renewable energy, when done right, can play an important role in restoring populations of grassland birds to sustainable levels.”

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Solar

Agrivoltaics. An economic lifeline for American farmers?

I thought you might appreciate this very thoughtful video about the role of "agrivoltaics" in water conservation, farm viability, and economic impact.

As natural systems become more stressed by climate change and the resulting disasters and impacts, natural climate solutions become more vulnerable.

Nature needs renewables — and our collective work to reduce energy consumption — to flourish.

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Flowers And Solar
Rob Davis

Farm-friendly solar site management

You have an opportunity to help others understand, and embrace, the importance of compatible renewables. We need people to understand that nature and farms need us to transition away from fossil fuels ASAP. And that means supporting renewables in ways that help with farm viability, pollinators, soil health, and water quality.

You may find the slides of this presentation helpful in understanding how you and/or community organizations can think through how solar can be compatible with conservation and farming goals — and how to help communities recognize the importance.

There is an opportunity to help people understand how compatible wind and solar can add to farm viability, soil health, and water quality.

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Cowboys
MALT

Running on renewable energy

Given that climate change, if left unchecked, will destroy much of the lands and waters we are working to conserve, conservation groups are switching to renewable energy sources as a moral and mission-centered move. It also can save them money.

Talking about how, and why, your land trust has transitioned to renewable energy, is important. Modeling this shift is a leadership move that will inspire others to do the same. Posting it on the land trust’s website, or the energy provider’s website, so folks can find out more about it, is smart:

MALT helps preserve the rich agricultural heritage of Marin County by protecting its clean water, clear air, and open space. Climate change threatens Marin’s farming way of life. We operate on 100% renewable energy from MCE because reducing fossil fuel pollution will help our cause in the long run. MALT is proud to join a community of businesses and organizations in Marin who choose to reduce our carbon impact through MCE’s Deep Green Energy Program.

MALT is also raising the profile about the importance of “Carbon Farming“— demonstrating how they are walking the walk to make a difference in a variety of ways. Check out that information HERE.

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Ev Charging
Mendocino Land Trust

EV Stations Complete

I've been reaching out to my Congressman to see if there is a way to tap federal and/or state funding for land trusts to install electric vehicle chargers at their conservation areas and local parks. That's something you might want to consider, too. Mendocino Land Trust worked on this very issue several years ago.

“Mendocino County is on the road to a cleaner and more sustainable future with the installation of 13 new electric vehicle charging stations along the coast and in Willits. Thanks to a $498,040 grant from the California Energy Commission awarded to Mendocino Land Trust in 2014, a string of new electric vehicle charging stations are up and running.”

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Solar And Tractors
NREL

Largest agrivoltaic research project in U.S. advances renewable energy while empowering local farmers

The time has come to help clarify that farmland and solar can work together — and become a key tool in keeping farmland viable, and in the hands of farming families.

Jack’s Solar Garden, a 1.2-MW solar farm in Boulder County, Colorado, is unique in that it represents the largest agrivoltaic research project in the United States and encompasses four types of vegetation at a single site.

According to [Byron] Kominek, he wanted the farm to be “a model for other small farms that want to keep their soils productive while taking advantage of the economic benefits that clean energy production can provide.”

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Solar Sunny
hawaiipublicradio.org

A solar energy toolkit for your community

There are a number of communities fighting solar and wind. Sometimes this is with good reason; they can be poorly designed. Yet that doesn't have to be the case.

“The Hudson Valley can serve as a model for how a region can effectively respond to climate change. Scenic Hudson’s How To Solar Now toolkit supports communities in a rapid transition to a sustainable, low carbon region increasingly powered by clean, emissions-free renewable energy while also protecting and preserving our invaluable scenic, historic, agricultural, environmental and economic resources.”

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