American Farmland Trust applauds introduction of bipartisan bill to advance agrivoltaics
Agrivoltaics refers to the practices of integrating solar energy generation and farming on the same piece of land, which could potentially reduce displacement of agricultural production from farmland as a result of solar development. The concept has been gaining attention in land-constrained countries like Japan and Germany as well as in states like Massachusetts and New Jersey.
“If included in the Farm Bill,” Fink said, “the Agrivoltaics Research and Demonstration Act would secure USDA’s role in advancing this innovation alongside the Department of Energy, AFT, and other partners across the country. Together, we are seeking ways to reduce displacement of farming from productive land as a result of solar energy development.”
Can agriculture and solar co-exist?
As New York faces a future that includes wetter winters, and periods of more frequent droughts during the summer, farming continues to be a challenging livelihood. For many farmers looking to retire, as well as new or younger farmers, the economics of agriculture is increasingly a focal point as they plan their future. According to American Farmland Trust’s Farms Under Threat report, New York lost over a quarter million acres of farmland in sixteen years (2000 – 2016).
The loss of NY’s farmland is concerning. But imagine if farmers had an income stream that helped cover rough years caused by drought, flooding, and erratic weather. That’s part of a shift underway to rethink solar development that works for farmers and farming, rather than taking land out of production.
While I think we can all agree that no one wants to see solar panels on good farmland if it takes that farmland out of production, Farmer First Solar changes that paradigm and prioritizes designs that allow for greater farming options, increased farm viability, and soil health…
Douglas County sheep farm working to restore soil and build community, agrivoltaics
“Co-locating farming and clean energy production on agricultural land creates rural economic resiliency, provides land access for new and underserved farmers, and builds vital agricultural infrastructure. Unlocking these bottlenecks will create food security that allows small farmers to compete in a global extractive market while focusing on restorative farming practices that heal the land”…
The science of solar-pollinator habitat: a fact sheet
Land trusts and community groups can help their communities understand how the design, implementation, and management of solar fields can work to enhance biodiversity and pollinators as well as farming and ranching. In this case, a recent fact sheet by the AgriSolar Clearinghouse provides useful information share.
Sweet return: German farmer gets both solar power and apples
Many of the apple trees growing beneath solar panels have been producing bountiful electricity during this year’s unusually sun-rich summer, while providing the fruit below with much-needed shade.
“The idea is simple,” said Nachtwey, whose farm lies in Gelsdorf, an hour’s drive south of Cologne. “To protect the orchard, without reducing the available growing surface and in particular maintaining production. On top of that there’s the solar electricity being generated on the same land.”
Large-scale solar installations on arable land are becoming increasingly popular in Europe and North America, as farmers seek to make the most of their land and establish a second source of revenue.
Solar energy and its place on the land
In a world beset with climate change and its attendant fires and floods, the need for solar energy is immense — vital if the world is to quit burning fossil fuels, the primary cause of the climate crisis…
The trick, for those of us in the business of land conservation, is to make a contribution to that effort without compromising our missions of protecting biodiversity and working lands that produce the food we need. There’s a growing body of research and practical application that offers hope that this can happen using agrivoltaics, the practice of combining agriculture and solar energy collection — a dual use of the land…
Farmland preservationists, solar developers to build green energy arrays
An estimated 750,000 acres of farmland in the U.S. is lost each year and “solar development if done right could potentially help” save some of that farmland, said John Piotti, president and CEO of American Farmland Trust, a nonprofit organization that works to keep farmland in production.
Earlier this week, Piotti said during a webcast meeting that his group would work with two private firms, Edelen Renewables and Arcadia Solar to develop “agrivoltaic” community solar farms in a number of states including New York…
Solar workshop series
While this workshop is over, you can get a sense of what they are helping to amplify. The following is from their announcement:
Solar workshop series comes to southern Maryland: If you’re interested in using solar electricity to power your home, farm, or business, then please join an upcoming session of the University of Maryland’s “Solar Workshop Series.”
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.
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…