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Solar Panels
Judy Anderson

About the Solar Energy Technologies Office

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) supports early-stage research and development in three technology areas: photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar power (CSP), and systems integration with the goal of improving the affordability, performance, and value of solar technologies on the grid…

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Ag And Solar
Dennis Schroeder/NREL

Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar

If you are looking for information to share with farmers about dual-use (compatible) solar, this might be something to consider. You could then link to additional sources relevant to your region.

A growing number of farms and agricultural businesses are looking to solar to power their daily operations. Thanks in part to the Solar Energy Technologies Office’s investments, the cost of going solar has declined, enabling more installations across the country. Consider these questions to help [farmers] determine what’s best …

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Wind energy & wildlife: Site it right

With Natural Climate Solutions estimated to be 21% in this country, we need renewables—and fast—to save the places we love. The Nature Conservancy is helping people understand the connection.

Site Wind Right is The Nature Conservancy’s approach to promoting smart, renewable wind energy in the right places—areas that are low impact for conservation, including already developed lands. The strategy has several components:

  • Promoting policies and incentives for low-impact renewable energy deployment
  • Advancing the science of low-impact siting
  • Providing the wind industry and public with information to support low-impact siting
  • Pursuing opportunities to work with the renewable energy sector to advance good siting practices
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Mature Forests Video Screenshot

Mature forests, carbon & climate: Learning with the land

Local stories about climate change and land protection are a great way to connect with others. Here's an example video your local land trust could emulate.

Come visit with old-growth forest expert Bob Leverett at his own forest in Florence to learn about the role our local forests play in the carbon cycle and in mitigating climate change. Bob shares his scientific method for calculating the volume of a tree and its carbon content, as well as a fascinating look at several species of mature trees on his property, including the beautiful Tuliptree…

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Sheep Grazing With Solar Panels
Blue Wave Solar

What makes for compatible solar?

Given that natural climate solutions are going to play approximately 21% of the climate solution in this country, if we act fast, we also have to figure out how to promote and integrate renewables. The good news is that compatible solar can help enhance soils, farm and ranch land viability, and water retention. That is, if it is designed and managed well and people promote it as a solution. This webinar is a good place to start.

American Farmland Trust’s New England Climate and Agriculture Program Manager and soil scientist Emily Cole, and Blue Wave’s Development/Senior Director Drew Pierson, team up to talk about what is needed to make solar projects compatible with—and benefit from—farmland viability.

If you are interested in how to slow down climate change and help agriculture, this webinar could be helpful. This is the second in a three-part series. While the webinar is focused on New England, the concepts of design, strategy, and partnerships are applicable to other parts of the country.

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Solar Builder Mag

How solar farms can be regenerative for soil and sequester more carbon

With Natural Climate Solutions estimated to be 21% in this country, we need renewables—and fast—to save the places we love. Solar installations can be done in a manner that helps agricultural viability and soil health. Here's a good example. We can help people see solutions and encourage better design and management.

What if renewable energy was not just sustainable but was also regenerative? This is the goal of a partnership between White Oak Pastures and Silicon Ranch Corporation, an independent solar power producer under the umbrella of Shell.

In 2020 alone, this partnership will bring holistic planned livestock grazing and regenerative land management practices to nearly 2,400 solar farm acres in Southwest Georgia to create carbon sinks, restore biodiversity and soil health, and add to the environmental, social, and economic benefits of these clean energy projects…

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Solar Panels
Evan Frost | MPR News

Pollinator-friendly solar energy becomes the norm in Minnesota

Your local land trust could share this with your supporters and let them know that pollinators are threatened and that this can help. Public perception is often shaped by those they trust, and as an organization they trust, you can help them understand that we need to think about solar in new ways.

The environmental benefits of Connexus Energy’s solar-plus-storage project are obvious enough, but this time of year, you’ll notice something more: prairie grasses and flowers planted under and around the sea of solar panels.

Pollinator-friendly plantings at large solar energy sites have become common in Minnesota in recent years. Not only do they provide habitat for the bee and butterfly populations people have been concerned about, but they also promote soil health and probably even boost the solar panels’ electricity output on warm days…

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Pollinator Friendly Solar
RTPeat / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A Practitioner’s Guide to Pollinator-Friendly Solar Development

With Natural Climate Solutions estimated to be 21% in this country, we need renewables—and fast—to save the places we love. Yale's Center for Business in the Environment is working to add clarity to both solar developers and community members by sharing the financial realities as well as ecological opportunities. For example, early and ongoing research suggests that planting deep-rooted vegetation beneath solar panels creates cooler microclimates that help improve efficiency and energy output.

This toolkit provides background on pollinator-friendly solar and its advantages, and tips, resources, and important considerations to kick-start the integration of pollinator habitat into a solar development portfolio.

In addition to the diverse environmental benefits that pollinator-friendly solar projects can produce, there are an array of private benefits for solar developers to reap from planting perennial vegetation under their solar panels.

The guide offers a set of best practices for understanding local context, building support for a project, designing a site, financing, and development…

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Harvard And Yale Student Protests
Nic Antaya | The Boston Globe | Getty Images

As big endowments spurn fossil fuel stocks, there’s one thing making this decision easy

This article might be of interest to those considering financial investments and how land trusts can walk the walk.

As big endowment funds face mounting pressure to reduce their exposure to the fossil fuel industry, there’s one thing making their decision easier: the energy sector’s underperformance…

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Smoke Stacks Video Screenshot

Your land trust has a chance to be strategic and proactive

This video from Yale Climate Connections may be helpful to your board and/or those involved in financial decisions. No longer is divestment just a moral decision. Increasingly, it's a strategic financial decision—and many donors are looking for land trusts to walk the walk.

Calls for decarbonization are now coming from the boardrooms and executive suites of the world’s largest corporations and investment funds, in a fast-moving change that could reshape the global energy system and economy. Listen to why investment firms and companies are divesting.

I’ll be posting more about alternatives, but in the meantime, check out PIMCO’s climate investment funds.

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