NYPA Study Provides Best Practices for Agrivoltaic Systems
“The New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced the release of a new report, Agrivoltaic Leading Practices, that recommends proven and innovative approaches on integrating dual-land use for agriculture and solar energy production. The study determined that a best practice agrivoltaic site ideally involves stakeholder collaboration, community education, policy incentives, site safety practices, and site-individualized crop selection and solar-array design.
Researchers who authored the new report examined how native vegetation, pollinators, low maintenance plants, agricultural crops as well as grazing livestock can coexist on the same parcel of land as a solar energy project.” – The Mountain Eagle
Research Shows Crops and Solar Panels Benefit from Co-Existence
In the threatening trouble of climate change, growing commercial crops on solar farms is a potentially efficient use of agricultural land that can both increase commercial food production and improve solar panel performance and longevity, according to new Cornell research.
“’We now have, for the first time, a physics-based tool to estimate the costs and benefits of co-locating solar panels and commercial agriculture from the perspective of increased power conversion efficiency and solar-panel longevity,’ said lead author Henry Williams, a doctoral student in Cornell Engineering.” – Cornell Chronicle
New Solar Panels Harness Full Light Spectrum and Increase Crop Yields
“According to a new study from the University of California, the blue part of the light spectrum is the most efficient for solar energy production, while the red part is better for plant growth and crop yield. Now, scientists are investigating how harnessing the sun’s complete light spectrum can improve agrivoltaic system’s effectiveness in arid agricultural areas.” – Horti Daily
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/agrisolar-roundup-photo-scaled.jpg25602378A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2023-03-12 14:30:202023-03-21 09:15:58AgriSolar News Roundup: NYPA Agrisolar Study Results, Cornell Agrisolar Research, New Solar Panels Increase Crop Yield
Agrisolar Clearinghouse Hosts Farm to Table Event at Biosphere 2
The AgriSolar Clearinghouse held an AgriSolar Farm to Table event at Biosphere 2 in Tucson, Arizona, last week, in partnership with the GreenBiz23 conference. Similar to the AgriSolar Clearinghouse Follow the Sun field trips, the AgriSolar Farm to Table events bring members of the agrisolar community together to see, touch, taste, and celebrate the delicious foods grown and grazed at solar farms around the country.
The AgriSolar Clearinghouse, along with sponsor Enel North America and partners from Biosphere 2, Connexus Energy, NREL, InSPIRE, Jack’s Solar Garden, and Columbia University, networked with attendees while they enjoyed lunch and refreshments prepared by Chefs Erin, Mateo, and Janos. The menu highlighted foods grown and grazed under solar arrays, including honey, beans, lamb, salad greens, potatoes, and saffron. Discussions ensued amongst attendees while Enel awarded Bare Honey solar-grown honey and the highly coveted agrivoltaic Lego sets.
During the lunch, attendees also enjoyed learning about the Biosphere 2’s agrivoltaic project from Dr. Greg Barren-Gafford and graduate students Kai Lepley, Nesrine Rouini, Alyssa Salazar, and Caleb Ortega. Dr. Barren-Gafford provided a background on Biosphere 2, as well as research conducted at the site and its application to agrivoltaics throughout the country.
Also attending the event was Sarah Bendok, a high-school freshman from Phoenix, Arizonaand founder of Growing Green, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on improving agriculture while simultaneously decreasing negative impacts on the environment. Bendok is planning to create an agrivoltaic site at her local community garden and is participating in the AgriSolar Clearinghouse’s peer-to-peer mentoring program under the guidance of Dr. Barron-Gafford and graduate student Nesrine Rouini in pursuit of obtaining the Girl Scout Gold Award.
Thank you to Dr. Barron-Gafford and the Greg Barron-Gafford Research Group; Jesse Puckett; Enel; Rob Davis; Biosphere 2; University of Arizona; Chefs Erin, Mateo, and Janos; the AgriSolar Clearinghouse team; and all the good people that braved the weather to join our agrisolar community in the celebration.
University of Arizona Researchers Awarded $1.2 Million to Explore Agrisolar
“Researchers will test three different watering strategies, ranging from intensive irrigation to almost no water, and use the shadows cast by solar panels to provide benefits to the agricultural process. The most heavily watered plot will closely replicate current agricultural practices and include plants with greater water needs, like tomatoes and varieties of lettuce. The second plot will involve watering to establish growth, but much less thereafter, to reintroduce native grasses. The final plot will require little to no watering and include ‘climate smart’ plants that have grown for hundreds, if not thousands, of years in the region: prickly pear, agave, legumes and others.” – University of Arizona
Germany’s Vattenfall Invests in 76-Megawatt Agrisolar Project
“For the first time, Vattenfall will implement this innovative concept of land use on a commercial scale with partners. The aim of the project in Tützpatz is to combine module types on different mounting systems with suitable agricultural uses over an area of 95 ha, and thus gain further practical experience for future commercial projects of this kind. According to current plans, construction at Tützpatz is scheduled to start in early summer 2023.” a– Reve
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/agrisolar-roundup-photo-scaled.jpg25602378A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2023-02-22 17:20:082023-02-28 08:49:22AgriSolar News Roundup: Farm to Table Event at Biosphere 2, UAZ Agrisolar Research, German Agrisolar Pilot Project
Results of Agrisolar Soybean Pilot Project Revealed by PV Developer
“French solar developer TSE, in association with Alliance BFC, has unveiled the initial results of a pilot study in France on how solar panels can affect soybean growth. The teams observed solid vegetative growth of the soybeans, with normal flowering, fertilization, and physiological maturation. The six varieties tested presented a diversity of yields: up to 25% difference in yield under the canopy and 19% on the control field.” – PV Magazine
Oregon Research Studies Use of Vertical PV for Crop Production
“There are many different ways to install agrivoltaic arrays. One common method is to raise the array to leave space for farming equipment or livestock to move freely below. Another trending design is to orient the PV arrays vertically, leaving wide open spaces in between the array rows.
The paper found that an area about the size of Maryland would be needed if agrivoltaics were to meet 20% of U.S. electricity generation. That’s about 13,000 square miles, or 1% of current U.S. farmland. At a global scale, it is estimated that 1% of all farmlands could produce the world’s energy needs if converted to solar PV.” – PV Magazine
Research Shows Translucent Solar Panels Optimize Crop and Solar Harvest
“Associate professor Majdi Abou Najm from the Univ. of California, Davis, tested organic solar panels made from translucent material that absorb the blue light to generate electricity, but allow the red light with its longer wavelengths to pass through to the crops below.
At the UC Davis Agricultural Experiment Station, Abou Najm and his team planted three different plots of processing tomatoes, a common central valley California crop, under a canopy of selective red light, another of selective blue, and a third uncovered plot.
GNN has reported before on the recent phenomenon of ‘agrivoltaics,’ a practice of growing shade tolerant crops under solar panel arrays. The shade protects the crops from heat stress, while the plants’ transpiration humidifies the air beneath the panels, cooling them down and increasing their electricity output.” – Good News Network
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/pexels-tom-fisk-9893729.jpg58665448A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2023-01-24 13:52:212023-01-24 13:59:32AgriSolar News Roundup: Agrisolar Pilot Project Results, Vertical PV Research, Translucent Solar Panel Research
Win for America’s Farmers: Harvesting Solar Energy
“America’s solar industry has boomed in recent years, and is slated for a big boost from the Democrats’ recently passed climate bill. Yet solar still only accounts for about 3 percent of electricity flowing into America’s grid—less than one-seventh the share from coal. If we want to phase out fossil fuels and accommodate an electric vehicle revolution, the sun’s contribution has to rise dramatically—and fast. But where to put all the panles?
The best places for solar installations, according to a 2019 study from the University of Utah and Oregon State, tend to be the areas where we already grow our food. That’s because, just like sun-loving tomato plants that fare poorly when the mercury creeps north of 85 °F, photovoltaic (PV) panels lose their efficiency at higher temperatures. But that doesn’t mean we have to starve ourselves to keep lights on and cars humming. By elevating solar panels far enough above the ground so people, plants, and animals can operate underneath, we can “essentially harvest the sun twice,” says University of Arizona researcher Greg Barron-Gafford. Enough sunlight to grow crops gets past the panels, which also act as a shield against extreme heat, drought, and storms.” – Mother Jones
5 Signs the US Agrisolar Revolution has Begun
“An upswell of opposition to large-scale solar power plants on farms took shape in the U.S. last spring, partly fueled by conspiracy theories about climate change. Nevertheless, farmland is attractive to solar developers. Now they have a new support system on their side, in the form of agrivoltaics.” – Triplepundit.com
Solar Energy Corporation of India Issues Tender to Install Agrisolar Pumps
“New Delhi: The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) on Monday issued a tender for setting up agricultural solar pumps in selected states pan-India under component-B of the PM-KUSUM scheme of the renewable energy ministry.
‘Individual farmers will be supported to install standalone solar agriculture pumps of capacity up to 7.5 HP for replacement of existing diesel agriculture pumps and irrigation systems in off-grid areas, where grid supply is not available. Installation of new pumps will be permitted under this scheme except in dark zone areas,’ said the SECI tender document.” – Energyworld.com
UC Davis Study Shows Harvesting Various Light Spectra Benefits Agrisolar
“Scientists from the University of California, Davis, are investigating how to better harvest the sun — and its optimal light spectrum — to make agrivoltaic systems more efficient in arid agricultural regions like California.
Their study, published in Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, found that the red part of the light spectrum is more efficient for growing plants, while the blue part of the spectrum is better used for solar production.” UCDavis.com
Massachusetts Sees Increase in Agrisolar Incentives
“A Massachusetts incentive program for projects that blend solar energy and agricultural production shows signs of finally gaining momentum after a slow rollout that has at times frustrated solar developers and farmers alike.
In 2018, Massachusetts became the first state to offer financial incentives for “dual-use” or “agrivoltaic” solar projects built above active agricultural land. Since the launch, however, just three projects have gotten up and running. Another eight have qualified for the incentive but not yet been built.” – Energynews.com
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/agrisolar-roundup-photo-scaled.jpg25602378A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2023-01-10 13:05:062023-01-12 15:07:52AgriSolar News Roundup: Win for America’s Farmers, 5 Signs of Agrisolar Revolution, Agrisolar Pumps in India, Harvesting Light in Agrisolar, Massachusetts Solar Incentives
DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office Announces $8 Million in Projects for Agrivoltaics Research
“The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office announced $8 million in new projects that will research agrivoltaics—agricultural production, such as crop production, livestock grazing, and pollinator habitat underneath solar panels and/or in between rows of solar panels.
AgriSolar Clearinghouse partner Greg-Barren Gafford from The University of Arizona is among the award recipients. Learn more about award recipients, which also include Rutgers and Ohio State University, here.
USDA Announces Climate Smart Commodity Awards
USDA Announced 71 climate-smart commodity awards in round 2 of the initiative. Among the awardees is The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UT-RGV), with the project “Validating Agrivoltaic Technology with Underserved Agricultural Producers.”
The AgriSolar Clearinghouse will serve as a technical assistance provider for this project. This work will include the production of outreach materials, education, and workshops to promote benefits to potential agrivoltaic adopters in the Rio Grande Valley.
“JUA Technologies, an agriculture technology start-up that manufactures solar-powered crop dehydrators, has received a two-year, $600,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop its technology.” – PV Magazine
Italian Research Shows Benefits of Growing Soybeans Using Agrivoltaics
“Scientists from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Italy have investigated different shade depth treatments on soybeans grown under an elevated agrivoltaic system in Monticelli d’Ongina, Italy. ‘Our work confirmed that soybean is shade tolerant and can be grown in combination with solar power generation. Considering not only soy but more crops and extensive crops in a large scale agrivoltaics is useful for increasing the sustainability of the agrivoltaic system itself.’ researcher Eleonora Potenza told PV magazine. – PV Magazine
Meta Obtains 720MW of Solar from Silicon Ranch
“Facebook owner Meta Platforms will power additional data center operations around the Southeast with 720 MW of new solar developments in Georgia and Tennessee with Silicon Ranch. Silicon Ranch is partnering with the Walton Electric Membership Corporation and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to supply power from seven new solar facilities to power Meta’s data centers in the two Southeast states, respectively.” – PV Magazine
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/agrisolar-roundup-photo-scaled.jpg25602378A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2022-12-14 10:34:432023-01-06 16:10:33AgriSolar News Roundup: DOE Agrivoltaics Funding, USDA Climate Awards, Solar Powered Dehydrator
Farmers in France are Beginning to Combine Solar Panels and Crops
“In the Haute-Saône region, in the northeastern part of the country, an experiment is being conducted by solar-energy company TSE. It is hoping to find out whether solar energy can be generated without hindering large-scale cereal crops. Previous attempts to experiment with agrivoltaics have been through smaller-scale projects. But, keen to see if it can thrive on an industrial level, 5,500 solar panels are being spread over this farm in the commune town of Amance by TSE.” – Euronews
Solar Grazing Event Helps Kentucky Students Learn about Agrisolar
“The event was made possible through a partnership between the Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office, LG&E/KU, University of Kentucky, Ohio State University, and solar development company Lightsource bp. Students learned about solar technology, seed mix establishment and meeting nutritional needs in solar grazing. Additionally, the release said students were able to tour the LG&E/KU E.W. Brown Generating Station’s solar array in Mercer County.” – The News Enterprise
Cornell Researcher Hosts EarthTalks Agrisolar Series
“Niko Kochendoerfer, a postdoctoral fellow in animal sciences at Cornell University, will deliver the talk ‘Effect of sheep stocking rate on ecosystem parameters in ground-mounted solar arrays’ at 4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14. The talk, which is free and open to the public, takes place in 112 Walker Building on the University Park campus and via Zoom.” – PSU
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/agrisolar-roundup-photo-scaled.jpg25602378A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2022-11-10 10:06:412022-12-08 16:17:44AgriSolar News Roundup: French Farmers Going Agrisolar, Agrisolar Event in Kentucky, EarthTalks Agrisolar Series
Research Suggests Agrivoltaics Could Help California’s Tomato Industry
“Emerging research suggests growing tomato plants below and between solar panels could help the country’s billion-dollar-plus tomato industry, especially in places where it faces increasing stress from heat and drought. Shade provided by solar panels can help conserve water, create humidity, and lower temperatures that can become too much even for heat-loving tomatoes.” – Energy News Network
Research Shows That Crops and Solar Panels Are Highly Compatible
“By elevating solar panels far enough above the ground so people, plants, and animals can operate underneath, we can ‘essentially harvest the sun twice,’ says University of Arizona researcher Greg Barron-Gafford. Enough sunlight to grow crops gets past the panels, which also act as a shield against extreme heat, drought, and storms.
Barron-Gafford and his team were able to triple the yield of chiltepin peppers, wild chiles common to the area, by growing them under PV panels on test plots vs. unshaded control plots; cherry tomato output doubled. What’s more, the soil on the PV plots retained 5 to 15 percent more moisture between waterings. ‘The plants aren’t just freeloading under the solar,’ adds Barron-Gafford; they actually help the panels become more efficient. ‘Every time plants open their pores to let carbon dioxide in, water escapes,’ he explains. This lowers the temperature beneath the panels—the same way restaurant misters make outdoor dining bearable in scorching heat. The cooling effect, the researchers calculated, resulted in a 3 percent bump in electricity production during the growing season.” – Mother Jones
Symbizon Project Aims to Find New Ways to Combine Agriculture and Solar
“During a four-year pilot project, Dutch independent research organization TNO, in collaboration with Vattenfall and Aeres University of Applied Sciences (UAS), is developing a sun tracking algorithm that monitors various factors, such as crop yield, energy yield and the effects of herb strips, weather forecast, energy price and soil condition.” – Vattenfall
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/agrisolar-roundup-photo-scaled.jpg25602378A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2022-11-04 10:29:302022-12-08 16:18:09AgriSolar News Roundup: Tomatoes in California, Agrisolar Research in the Southwest, Symbizon Project in Netherlands
Australian Researchers Develop Solar Panels Optimized for Agrisolar
“University of New South Wales researchers have teamed up with Tindo Solar to develop a line of semi-transparent modules, specialized for agrivoltaic cropping, which will use nanoparticles tuned to capture different parts of the light spectrum. ‘There is evidence you don’t need the full spectrum and some plants will work even better if you provide them with only part of the spectrum,’ project lead and UNSW Associate Professor Ziv Hameiri tells PV Magazine Australia. Crucially, he says, the project will also open a line between farmers, solar researchers and industry, creating the potential for mutual benefits.” – PV Magazine
Agrisolar Operations Show That Solar Does Not Compete with Farmland
“In short, Agrivoltaics is a rapidly growing branch of the energy transition. It is being applied to all manner of crops across the world. All kinds of benefits are emerging, with China even using it to reverse desertification. Not only is it expanding clean energy production, it is providing a vital second income stream for farmers. Banning it would cut off a really important opportunity for Britain’s farmers, at a time when rural poverty is a real issue.” – Green Peace
Oregon State Develops 5-Acre Agrisolar Project
“Oregon State University has started construction on a $1.5 million research project to optimize dual-use, co-developed land hosting solar photovoltaic arrays and agriculture. The five-acre Solar Harvest project is located at Oregon State’s North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora, Oregon, 20 miles south of Portland. The 326-kW project is the result of a partnership between Oregon State and the Oregon Clean Power Cooperative, which developed the solar array and financed the construction of the solar array.” – Solar Power World
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/agrisolar-roundup-photo-scaled.jpg25602378A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2022-10-26 11:20:272022-12-08 16:18:57AgriSolar News Roundup: Agrivoltaic Research in Australia, Solar and Farmland Compatibility, Agrisolar Development in Oregon
Solar Projects Increase Tax Revenue in North Carolina
“Proposed large-scale solar facilities continue to draw opposition in North Carolina from critics who argue that swaths of panels are blights on the landscape and threaten farms in a state where agriculture is the leading industry. But those facilities have become a financial boon to local communities, particularly in rural areas with limited sources of tax revenue, a newly released study from the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association found.” – Greensboro
Dutch Research Studies Agrisolar
“During a four-year pilot project, Dutch independent research organization TNO, in collaboration with Vattenfall and Aeres University of Applied Sciences (UAS), is developing a sun-tracking algorithm that monitors various factors, such as crop yield, energy yield and the effects of herb strips, weather forecast, energy price and soil condition.” – Vattenfall
Small Farms in Maine are Good Candidate for Agrivoltaics
“Maine’s prevalence of small farms with low-lying, hand-harvested crops makes the state a good candidate for blending solar energy and food production on the same land, but farmers may not take the risk without funding for pilot projects.
Maine may be uniquely positioned for this emerging field, known as agrivoltaics or dual-use solar. Nationally, most successful projects so far have involved extras like solar grazing or pollinator habitat alongside panels at small farms with low-lying, hand-harvested crops — precisely the type of farms that dominate much of Maine’s agricultural sector.” – Energy News
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/agrisolar-roundup-photo-scaled.jpg25602378A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2022-10-11 12:28:462022-10-11 12:28:46AgriSolar News Roundup: Solar and Taxes in NC, Dutch Agrisolar Research, Agrivoltaics in Maine
“The sun’s energy feeds grazing fodder and crops side-by-side with solar panels. ‘For farmers, it’s a two-income stream,’ said Brad Heins, professor of animal science at the University of Minnesota. That might mean planting crops that thrive in the shade cast by the panels. Or, in Heins’ case, it can mean cooling cows in the panels’ shade rather than resorting to expensive fans in a barn.
Heins and his colleagues are at the cutting edge of this new field (agrivoltaics), but they aren’t alone. There are hundreds of agrivoltaics projects underway in the US. Some work better than others, and some may wind up not working at all. But the best will lead to a greener and more profitable rural America that embraces renewable energy as an asset.” – The Washington Post
Agrivoltaic Site Under Construction in Oregon
“Construction is underway on a $1.5 million project that will allow Oregon State University researchers to further optimize agrivoltaic systems that involve co-developing land for both solar photovoltaic power and agriculture. The five-acre Solar Harvest project is located at Oregon State’s North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora, Oregon, 20 miles south of Portland. It is the result of a partnership between Oregon State and the Oregon Clean Power Cooperative.
The problem with agrivoltaics research to date, Higgins said, is that it has occurred using solar arrays designed strictly for electricity generation rather than in combination with agricultural uses, such as growing crops or grazing animals. The solar array at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center is designed specifically for agrivoltaics research, with panels that are more spread out and able to rotate to a near vertical position to allow farm equipment to pass through, Higgins said.” – Oregon State University
Agrivoltaics is Shown to be a “Win-Win” for Food and Energy
“’With the right investment, innovation and robust collaboration, agrifood systems could become one of the world’s most hopeful solutions to climate change, as well as reduce poverty and provide nourishment for all,’ says Sean de Cleene, head of the Food Systems Initiative at the World Economic Forum (WEF).
‘The hallmark characteristic of agrivoltaics is the sharing of sunlight between the two energy conversion systems: photovoltaics and photosynthesis,’ says Jordan Macknick, lead energy-water-land analyst at the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory. ‘It essentially mimics what humans have been doing for hundreds of years with agroforestry – think shade-grown coffee – intentionally creating partial shade to create multiple layers of agricultural productivity on the same piece of land.’” – Energy Monitor
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/agrisolar-roundup-photo-scaled.jpg25602378A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2022-10-05 14:57:202022-10-05 14:57:22AgriSolar News Roundup: The Power of Shade, Oregon Agrivoltaics Development, Agrivoltaics is a “Win-Win”
Helping people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance, and protect natural resources.
To learn more about NCAT and its mission, please visit: WWW.NCAT.ORG.
This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Solar Energy Technologies Office Award Number DE-EE0009372.
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