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BTLT

Crystal Spring Farm Community Solar Project

Are you looking for examples to demonstrate support for "compatible" renewables? This might be something you could emulate in your region.

For the [over] 25 years BTLT has owned and managed Crystal Spring Farm, a 331-acre property dynamic in its agricultural impact, community programs, recreational opportunities, and ecological value. As BTLT staff and resources have grown, so has our capacity to manage the many aspects of this incredible property…

Capacity: 78.65 Kilowatts (KW), 286 photovoltaic solar panels, 275 watts/panel

Host: Crystal Spring Farm, with concurrence of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (landowner).

Participants: Crystal Spring Farm plus seven other Brunswick families without access to solar electricity where they live.

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Agrivoltaics

Agrivoltaics works better with leafy greens, root crops

People want clean energy. Businesses want clean energy. Yet, where is it going to go? And how can it enhance farming and ranching, and not detract from it? Solar can enhance agricultural viability—but you need to spread the word and demand that your state, and the federal government, provide the incentives needed. It's a smart policy decision given the shocking loss of farms and ranches already underway.

[Solar] projects linked to agriculture have thus far shown the highest potential when combined with leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach, as well as with root crops such as potatoes, radishes, beets, and carrots. This is one of the conclusions of recent research developed on agrivoltaics by U.S. scientist Chad Higgins from the Department of Biological and Ecological Engineering at Oregon State University…

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Solar Panels And Tractor
Judy Anderson

Solar siting on farmland: lessons learned from across the northeast

We need to transition to renewables as soon as possible to save the lands and waters we all care about. That means a lot of renewables—and they can't all be installed on rooftops and brownfields. With farms going out of business, renewables can help them stay in business if they are done well. You can help people know what that means.

Are you interested in how farmland viability and solar can work together? Would you like to be able to share examples of projects that improve soil health, farm diversity, and stem the loss of farmland? You might be interested in watching American Farmland Trust Northeast’s recent webinar focusing on Connecticut policy opportunities and the various policies in the northeast.

Across the country farmland is being lost at an alarming rate: 2,000 acres of agricultural land are converted every day. With the push to transition off fossil fuels, solar development could take more out of production. But it doesn’t have to be that way. States could invest in elevated, compatible solar that could help farmers and ranchers stay in business and keep the land in production.

See what your region can glean from this webinar. There’s a window to lead on this.

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Cows
Pixabay

Kilby Farm protected by a conservation easement proactively addresses climate change

Yes, agricultural easements can help farmers/ranchers deal with climate change and agricultural viability.

As a conservation organization, Cecil Land Trust takes the threats, challenges, and opportunities presented by climate change seriously. Educating the community about climate change means a better response more quickly for our community.

​The Kilby Farm methane digester converts greenhouse gas methane, produced from cow waste and organic products, to green energy to run the farm…

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Pitched Roof Solar
Mendocino Land Trust

Moving forward, going solar

Check out this post from a while back; it's as relevant as ever. Partnerships or local collaborations can be a great way to inspire folks to take action. Can you think of partnerships like this in your community?

If this is the year you finally want to go solar, give Mendocino Solar Service a call. Not only will they be happy to answer all of your questions and set up a free on site consultation, but if you mention the Mendocino Land Trust, Mendocino Solar will make a $500 donation to MLT upon the completed installation of your 3 kW or larger solar photovoltaic system! What could be better?…

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Sheep Under Solar Panels
American Solar Grazing Association

A new vision for farming: chickens, sheep, and…solar panels

We are losing farms and ranches at an alarming rate. What if compatible solar was part of the economic strategy to keep family farms and ranches viable, and pass them on to future generations? We have the technology. We just need the community will to make it happen.

Agrivoltaics doesn’t just include chickens. Other livestock can also roam around solar panels, and some researchers are experimenting with planting crops, too.

Animals that graze around solar fields offer several benefits, proponents of agrivoltaics say. Not only does their manure enrich the soil, their munching keeps plants from growing too tall and shading the panels. Another win: they lower vegetation maintenance costs, reducing the need for lawn mowers or landscapers…

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Climate Tip Solar
Peconic Land Trust

Climate tip: solar

How is your land trust demonstrating that reducing energy use, and moving away from fossil fuels, is possible and strategic?

[Recently, the Peconic Land Trust] celebrated National Cut Your Energy Cost Day with a look at our own energy costs. The Peconic Land Trust has been working to cut its energy costs through the use of solar panels—which is both economically and environmentally friendly. The net cost of solar is significantly lower than the current cost of utility power on Long Island, $0.09/ kWH to $0.21/ kWh respectively.

During the renovation of the Southampton office building in 2017, 32 solar panels were installed on the roof by GreenLogic. Since then, the panels have produced over 45,000 kWh of energy at a savings of more than $10,000! Power on Long Island comes from a combination of sources including coal and natural gas…

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How To Solar Now
Scenic Hudson

How to Solar Now

Even if you aren't located in the Hudson Valley region of New York, this tool might be something to replicate where you live. Check it out and see what you think.

Land trusts are realizing that they must support renewable energy if we are going to have a chance at saving the plants, animals, and communities from the worst of climate change.

This web-based interactive tool combines mapped information with education and guidance to help your community proactively plan for smart solar energy development. Using Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping layers, the tool identifies communities’ natural resources—such as forests, agricultural lands, and wetlands—and overlays them with important characteristics for solar development, such as gentle slopes and distance to transmission lines. It enables communities considering planning and zoning for future solar development, evaluating proposals by developers or identifying preferred sites for solar to make smart decisions that bring clean energy to residents while minimizing impacts to natural and community assets…

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Solar And Kale
NREL

Benefits of agrivoltaics across food, water, energy sectors

Food and energy security need not be competing objectives. In fact, taking a holistic, integrated approach to food-energy-water decision making can increase resiliency of both food and energy systems…

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Solar Field From Above
Robin Lubbock/WBUR

Farms will harvest food and the sun, as Massachusetts pioneers ‘Dual-Use’ Solar

We are losing farms and ranches at an alarming rate. What if compatible solar was part of the economic strategy to keep family farms and ranches viable, and pass them on to the next generation? We have the technology. We just need the community will to make that happen.

Fickle weather and fluctuating prices make farming a risky business, so five years ago, [Paul] Knowlton installed a new cash crop: solar energy. He turned 19 acres into two solar energy fields. “Doing the solar was very beneficial,” he says. “In the wintertime there is no revenue for a farm. It’s a tough game.”

Knowlton wants to increase the production of solar power on his farm, expanding it to another 14 acres. But this time, cutting-edge technology is making it possible to harvest both the sun’s energy and crops on the same land. It’s called “agrivoltaics” or “dual-use solar”…Knowlton has nine children, and hopes solar will help the farm stay in the family. “We’re going to keep it for the next generation to enjoy,” he says.

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