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Monarch
iStock

Climate Change Pilot Project

We can make sure that solar developments are installed and managed to benefit farm and ranch viability, soil health, wildlife habitat, and water management.

South Kingstown Land Trust was invited by the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resource Center (CRC) to participate in a pilot project to investigate how climate change could impact land trusts — whether impacts to our land holdings themselves or to our priorities for preservation.

For Rhode Island, the likely effects of climate change will include sea-level rise and increases in air and water temperature, precipitation, and storminess. The study was funded by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council…

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Agrivoltaics
Flickr

Feed people; power economies; foster peace with agrivoltaics

I continue to grapple with the climate news, the war in the Ukraine, and how they are actually linked. I don't know if you've been following this line of thinking, but there's a lot of data on what this means. There is also the realization that we can turn this around. Check out this post; I'll be curious to know what you think.

“Amidst the noise, haste, and chaos of modern life there are more positive developments for humanity than one might think. Everyone focuses on the disasters of the climate crisis, and while those do motivate our daily work, we also feel it’s important to highlight the hopeful – the very real innovations pushing our clean energy movement forward…”

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Farmland
Coastal Reivers Conservation Trust

Land trust installs their own solar project

This land trust got creative. They figured out how to make the funding work. Now they are working to include solar grazing as part of the installation.

Coastal Rivers is working toward a goal of achieving carbon neutrality within the next five years. A major step toward this goal was to install energy-efficient heat pumps to heat and cool the renovated Denny Conservation & Education Center at Round Top Farm. The next step is to power those heat pumps — and the bulk of our electrical needs overall — with solar-generated energy.

We have a prime site for a solar installation at Round Top Farm in the southwest field below the large dirt parking lot by Darrows Barn. The slope aspect is ideal, and the topography limits visual impacts. We also have three-phase power to the site already, which will reduce construction costs…

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Farm
Judy Anderson

SunCommon financing program helps Vermont organic farmers go solar

Organic Valley, the largest farmer-owned organic cooperative in the U.S., is teaming up with SunCommon to help Vermont farmers go solar — with zero up-front costs.

SunCommon, headquartered in Waterbury, Vermont, launched a program that offers to help Organic Valley farmers go solar with zero upfront costs. Organic Valley is the largest farmer-owned organic cooperative in the US with a footprint of 100+ Vermont farms. The program provides Organic Valley farmer-members with financing for solar and other renewable energy projects. Farmers benefit from a fully-funded solar installation with no upfront costs, and they save on their energy bill…

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Sheep
ASGA

Organization to know: The American Solar Grazing Assoication

Encourage your local land trust to start exploring how dual-use solar, and elevated solar, can help with farm viability, soil health, and water management.

Want to Get Involved With Solar Grazing?

Well you’ve come to the right place. The American Solar Grazing Association (ASGA) was founded to promote grazing sheep on solar installations.

ASGA members are developing best practices that support shepherds and solar developers to both effectively manage solar installations and create new agribusiness profits.

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Goat Solar
iStock

The Nature Conservancy tool helps identify ideal solar farm sites in Georgia

We can make sure that solar developments are installed and managed to benefit farm and ranch viability, soil health, wildlife habitat, and water management.

They compared that information to maps of critical habitat, protected lands, and prime farmland. And they put their results into a free online tool.

It allows developers, natural resource agencies, and others to identify low-impact locations for new solar farms. And Gutierrez says the tool finds plenty of them…

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Jacks Solaara
Jack's Solar Garden

Jack’s Solar Garden is nationally significant

Jacks Solar Garden a great example of crops and solar. The farmer receives a diversified source of income by agreeing to host the panels. The only land lost to agriculture is in a series of maintenance strips next to the panels. Perhaps this is something you can share.

Agrivoltaics  is the co-location of solar power and agricultural production. It is not a new idea, but is not in widespread use. Jack’s Solar Garden is the largest commercially active agrivoltaics system researching a variety of crop and vegetation growth under solar panels not just in Colorado, but in the US!

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Solar Sketch
Phoebus Fund, LLC

Phillipsburg: Revolutionary solar energy plan for panels over farmland

The farmer receives a diversified source of income by agreeing to host the panels. The only land lost to agriculture is in a series of maintenance strips next to the panels. See Jacks Solar Garden for another example of crops and solar.

Phoebus Fund LLC, based in Williamstown, Gloucester County, is proposing the installation of 22 megawatts of solar power on farmland along the 1700 block of Belvidere Road in Lopatcong Township.

The proposal is unique in that the panels are installed 15 to 17 feet above the ground so that most of the land can still be farmed, according to Andrew Kennedy, partner with the Phoebus Fund. It’s a concept known as agrivoltaics that has been used in Italy, Germany, Japan, and Arizona, he said.

“We can grow almost anything under these plates,” said Kennedy. “In addition, our equipment serves as the foundation for irrigation and other types of agricultural equipment so that the farm can not only continue to operate but even improve over time”…

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Birdeyeview
Encore

Whitcomb Farm Solar

Farmers can be part of the climate solution — and many already are. If you or your land trust works with farmers, you might consider how to amplify the positive change agriculture can be.

In conjunction with an easement from the Vermont Land Trust, the solar array will provide lease revenue to the farmers that will assist in keeping the farm in active agricultural use for generations to come.

Meg Armstrong, the owner of Witcomb Farm notes “We were thrilled with the outcome of our work with Encore on the siting of a solar array on our active dairy farm in Essex Junction, Vermont. Encore’s work resulted in an annual lease payment that provides us with the opportunity to improve our farmstead while preserving topsoil integrity. Farming has always involved land, sunlight, and water to produce value; we are pleased to be able to diversify our farming operations to include renewable electricity generation in addition to forage crops and dairy…”

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Solar Tnc
TNC

The Nature Conservancy goes carbon neutral at Uplands Farm

Talking about how your land trust is going carbon neutral, and how that's related to the mission and work of your land trust, is critical. Likewise, helping people understand how nature and farms need compatible renewables to survive and thrive, is critical for long-term conservation work.

The Nature Conservancy is pleased to announce its move toward 100% renewable energy at Uplands Farm Sanctuary, the 97-acre nature preserve that also serves as one of the organization’s Long Island offices.

The ambitious project, funded by the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club, includes rooftop solar, an electric vehicle charging station, and energy efficiency upgrades that will dramatically reduce Uplands Farm’s carbon footprint, making the preserve’s offices carbon-neutral on an annual basis. The upgrades are estimated to save more than 54 tons of carbon pollution, equivalent to the emissions from over 5,000 gallons of gasoline from gasoline-powered vehicles, each year…

The sustainable upgrades are part of the Conservancy’s continued efforts to tackle climate change in New York and around the world. The chronic flooding, stronger storms, and intense heat waves caused by climate change are already impacting communities statewide. The shift to renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, is key to climate stability. The Conservancy is striving to achieve a low-carbon future through broad-scale policy change at the state and federal levels while developing and modeling solutions locally, such as those at the Uplands Farm Sanctuary…

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