Entries by Emilie Ritter Saunders

Energy Department Announces $8 Million for Agrivoltaic Research

The U.S. Department of Energy, Solar Energy Technologies Office has announced it award up to $8 million for agrivoltaic research through its Foundational Agrivoltaic Research for Megawatt Scale (FARMS) program. The research dollars are intended to examine how agrivoltaics can scale up to maximize land and increase farm revenue. According to it’s funding announcement: DOE expects […]

Fostering Social Acceptance of Solar Through Agrivoltaic Solutions

By Alexis Pascaris What if we shifted our perspective to view Not in My Backyard (NIMBY) syndrome as an occasion for innovation? What if we strategically integrated local community interests into a solar project, rather than grappling to override them? Luckily, embodying these ideals may not be as lofty as it seems. Combining agriculture and […]

Follow the Sun Tour: Learning from Arizona’s Biosphere 2 and Manzo Elementary Agrivoltaics  

By Dr. Stacie Peterson The interdisciplinary research at Biosphere 2 and Manzo Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona is foundational for agrivoltaics in the United States.  My first introduction to agrivoltaics came from research at these sites, in the article Agrivoltaics Provide Mutual Benefits Across the Food-Energy-Water Nexus in Drylands. The opportunity to tour these sites, […]

Renewable Energy Meets Pollinator Habitat in Minnesota Solar Fields

Guest blog post by Monarch Joint Venture Up to 99% of native northern tallgrass prairie in the U.S. has disappeared since European settlement (Samson and Knopf, 1994). This loss of habitat is devastating for pollinators including the iconic monarch butterfly, which depends on native milkweed species and a variety of nectar plants to survive. Given […]

NCAT’s AgriSolar Clearinghouse Launches National ‘Follow the Sun’ Tour

The AgriSolar Clearinghouse, developed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is launching a series of hands-on field trips to see firsthand the benefits of co-locating sustainable agriculture and solar energy. The Follow the Sun Tour’s first stop is April 5 at Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona. “AgriSolar allows us to harvest the sun […]

Dual Use in the Pacific Northwest

When I think about dual-use solar, I think about why this approach is a good idea for the Pacific Northwest. In a region that enjoys wild, open areas, it would be easy to assume that there’s “plenty of space” for building solar. Of course, as we look closer, we realize that there are many uses and users of these spaces and lands – between agriculture, conservation, and the plentiful ways to recreate in the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest. Oregon and Washington have rich agricultural economies and histories that are entwined with their natural resources and beauty. As a native Oregonian myself, I recognize the connection I have and value I place on these pristine spaces and activities. Protecting those spaces and activities is important to many. 

LISTEN: NCAT’s AgriSolar Clearinghouse Aims to Make Solar More Accessible to Land Managers 

The National Center for Appropriate Technology has launched America’s first AgriSolar Clearinghouse to connect farmers, ranchers, land managers, solar developers, and researchers with trusted, practical information to increase the co-location of solar and agriculture.    In less than a decade, solar installations are expected to cover more than 3 million acres of the United States, creating […]

NPR Visits AgriSolar ‘Garden’ in Colorado

NPR recently visited Jack’s Solar Garden, a Colorado farm among about a dozen in the U.S. investing in the colocation of solar energy and farmland. When Byron Kominek returned home after the Peace Corps and later working as a diplomat in Africa, his family’s 24-acre farm near Boulder, Colo., was struggling to turn a profit. […]

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NCAT Launches Nation’s First AgriSolar Clearinghouse

The National Center for Appropriate Technology, a nonprofit focused on sustainable energy and agriculture solutions, has launched the nation’s first AgriSolar Clearinghouse to connect farmers, ranchers, land managers, solar developers, and researchers with trusted, practical information to increase the co-location of solar and agriculture.

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The AP Reports on the Benefits of AgriSolar Development

The Associated Press is reporting on the benefits of agrisolar development, that is, the co-location of solar panels on appropriate farm land. “There’s lots of spaces where solar could be integrated with really innovative uses of land,” said Brendan O’Neill, a University of Michigan environmental scientist who’s monitoring how planting at a new 1,752-panel facility […]