Entries by Danielle Miska

Solar and The Future of Farmland

By David Murray In the 1940s, my great-grandfather purchased a small farm in the Hudson Valley of New York. He raised chickens and grew tomatoes, strawberries, and other crops until he passed away. My extended family treasures this farm, but with every passing year, maintaining it becomes less economic. The temptation to sell the property […]

Solar Sheep – an example of multifunctional land use

By Emma Kampherbeek Land is limited. Agriculture, electricity production, housing, nature, etc. all compete for the same plot of land. In some areas more than in others, but the competition is everywhere. On top of that, greenhouse gas emissions keep increasing and the global temperature keeps rising, leading to more frequent natural disasters and parts […]

Biosphere 2 Agrivoltaic Learning Lab

Biosphere 2, located in Oracle, Arizona, houses one of the first agrivoltaic research sites in the United States. The site was built seven years ago with a 21.6-kW solar PV array shading a 9×18-meter garden. Greg Barron-Gafford, along with several graduate students, use this garden to study the changes in phenology of several varieties of […]

Adoption of Agrisolar Technologies in Hawai’i

Ridge to Reefs staff, including Emma Verlinden, Phal Mantha, and Paul Sturm Hawai’i has a deep-rooted agricultural history, and today there are more than 7,000 individual farms in operation. Due to a confluence of factors, agricultural producers in Hawai’i face a variety of significant challenges when compared with their mainland counterparts. High costs associated with […]

Pollinator Week: Wings of Life! June 20-26, 2022

Pollinator Week is an annual celebration in support of pollinator health, initiated and managed by Pollinator Partnership (P2). It is a time to raise awareness for pollinators and spread the word about what we can do to protect them. The great thing about Pollinator Week is that you can celebrate and get involved in multiple ways. […]

Characterizing the Ecological Effects of Utility-scale Photovoltaic Arrays in Rangeland

By Dr. Seeta Sistla, Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences Department, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo With the dual growth of utility-scale solar energy and food production, fallowed agricultural landscapes represent a particularly promising area for the deployment of solar arrays because these systems have the potential to recover with shifts in management practices (Tscharntke et al., […]

Tasting the Fruits and Vegetables Grown Under Solar Panels

By: Mariah Rogers, Graduate Student, University of Arizona Do plants taste different under solar panels? Do they taste better? At the Biosphere 2 Agrivoltaics Learning Lab, we studied just that. Why Should We Use Agrivoltaics? Agrivoltaics—the production of agriculture and solar photovoltaic energy on the same parcel of land—is gaining attention as farmers are facing […]

To Mow or Not to Mow?

Timing field management in and around solar fields to optimize conservation opportunities for declining grassland birds Dr. Amy Johnson, Conservation Biologist and Program Director, Virginia Working Landscapes, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute Biodiversity is declining globally at an alarming rate. While multiple ecosystems are at risk, our planet’s terrestrial grasslands are suffering precipitous […]

Financing and Incentive Options for Solar

By: Andrew Valainis Director, Montana Renewable Energy Association (MREA) According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the cost to install solar has dropped more than 60% over the last decade alone, with the average residential system costing half of what it did in 2010.[1] Still, solar photovoltaic systems are a large investment, and the up-front […]