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Cable Solar
Rute Foundation

Agrivoltaic solar tracker uses cables instead of buried steel

As extreme weather (including drought) stresses agriculture, the shade from well-designed solar panels may provide a respite that in the past might have been seen as an unwanted barrier. Cable, rather than posts as shown below, may allow for additional flexibility with farm use and reduce installation expenses.

The Suntracker system is suspended by cables, rather than mounted on steel driven into the ground, providing what the company says is the lowest levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for high-clearance solar. Rute reports that by using cables rather than steel foundations, steel use is reduced by as much as 30%.

Another advantage of the cable system is that the land does not have to be disturbed in order to install the system, which is a benefit in the agricultural industry. It also enables the land to be returned to its original condition in the event that the solar installation were to be removed…

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Agrivoltaics
Judy Anderson

Massachusetts Clean Energy Act eases path for agrivoltaic projects

You might consider sharing this at the local, regional, or state level to inspire policies that support farm viability, soil health, and keeping farmers on the land.

The Act clarifies that an agrivoltaic project is to be treated as an agricultural use, meaning that the land can continue to be classified as agricultural land for property tax purposes and that the project is exempt from special permit requirements.

This change in law further illustrates the legislature’s intent to help farmers continue their farming operations by utilizing renewable energy, and particularly solar energy, as a means of maintaining their land in agricultural use.

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Hay Solar
Judy Anderson

Solar, haying, and owning the solar array

As extreme weather (including drought) stresses agriculture, the shade from well-designed solar panels may provide a respite that in the past might have been seen as an unwanted barrier.

Converting arable land to energy production undermines the future of farming. But innovators like Nate know it doesn’t have to be one or the other – if done right, solar can be leveraged to support farmers, rather than threaten them.

Seeing the Massachusetts SMART program as an opportunity for revenue diversification and farmland preservation, Nate pioneered a plan to own both the solar system and the land underneath. Million Little Sunbeams does not involve a lease to a solar developer but instead was designed to allow the Tassinari family to sell the excess energy to the surrounding community — a win for the family farm that has allowed it to stay in operation…

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Agrisolar
Iberdrola

Iberdrola starts up Spain’s first smart agrovoltaic plant in Toledo

We need to help municipalities and our respective states prioritize solar companies who want to install agrivoltaics can compete with traditional ground-mounted solar. We need the U.S. to up the vision of what could happen here.

While combining solar energy and agricultural land is not new, one component that makes the Winesolar project stand out is that it will have a tracking system, with trackers from PVH, that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to determine the most efficient solar panel positioning over the vines at any time…

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Vineyard
Pixabay

Spanish vineyards use solar panels to protect wine grapes

The Inflation Reduction Act is a game-changer when it comes to funding for solar. The question is, will the U.S. solar industry be asked to move towards more compatible solar with agricultural lands? We need to help municipalities and our respective states prioritize the change and ensure solar companies who want to install agrivoltaics can compete with traditional ground-mounted solar. We know how to make it work. It's not new, and it's happening all over the world. We need the U.S. to up the vision of what could happen here.

While combining solar energy and agricultural land is not new, one component that makes the Winesolar project stand out is that it will have a tracking system, with trackers from PVH, that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to determine the most efficient solar panel positioning over the vines at any time, according to Iberdrola. Techedge, an IT firm, will help the solar panel project further the wineries’ agricultural goals.

Sensors in the vineyards will record data including soil humidity, wind conditions, solar radiation, and even vine thickness to find the optimal position for the solar panels, giving the vines a fighting chance against the effects of climate change…

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Elevated Solar
Hyperion Systems, LLC

Agrivoltaics looks at farming around/among solar panels

The new Inflation Reduction Act bill makes it more economically feasible for innovative solar that works WITH farming, rather than against it. However, it means we have to change the narrative and stop saying to keep solar off good farmland and instead insist that solar on farmland supports short-term and long-term farm viability.

Double cropping solar power and organic dairy production works successfully here, but the concept – called agrivoltaics – is still very new.

Agrivoltaics is a new umbrella term defined as any farming practices on the land supporting solar power.

Around the world, innovators are looking for ways that solar panels and agriculture can benefit from the other. Flowers, pollinator plants, alfalfa, grass, vegetables and greens, and fruits and berries are some of the potential crops that people are planting in conjunction with solar panels…

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Canal Solar
Solar AquaGrid

How installing solar canopies over canals can help California fight drought

While installing solar over canals costs more, the multiple benefits make it clear that this could be an important part of the climate solution — as well as helping to reduce climate impacts. The same can be said for elevated solar that would help farmers stay on the land, improve soil health, and increase farm diversity.

A first-in-the-nation project to determine whether covering sections of canals with solar panels can help California reach its renewable energy goals is gearing up to break ground early next year…

Researchers from the University of California, Merced determined that covering the 4,000 miles of California’s open canals with solar panels could save upward of 63 billion gallons of water each year, the residential water needs of about 2 million people, or enough to irrigate about 50,000 acres of farmland…

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Cows
Judy Anderson

Agrivoltaics looks at farming around and among solar panels

We are predicted to need 8-10 million acres of solar to adequately transition from fossil fuels. When installed thoughtfully, solar can benefit farming, and farm viability, including large animal operations. We just need to push for it.

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…

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Agrivoltaics
Flickr

Solar sharing for both food and clean energy production

Farmland without water is an increasing risk no matter where you are in the country. Corn, soybeans, vegetables, and orchards are all feeling the stress; agrivoltaics (often elevated solar) could make a difference. You might find this scientific study on agrivoltaics (with corn), interesting.

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%.

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Agrivoltaics
Times Hudson Valley Media

The future of farming?

Lightstar has one potential site in mind for the Town of Montgomery: a 3.4 mW installation on 16 acres. The acreage is currently being used for vegetable and hay production, with Lightstar offering financial and agricultural support for the next two decades.

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…

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