This episode is a conversation between Stacie Peterson, NCAT’s Energy Program Director and Manager of the AgriSolar Clearinghouse, and Nate Tassinari, the owner of Million Little Sunbeams, a third-generation hay farm in Monson, Massachusetts.

It is the second in a series of AgriSolar Clearinghouse podcasts that are being featured on ATTRA’S Voices from the Field podcast.

Nate’s hay operation is a 1-acre farm co-located with a solar array that generates 250 kilowatts of power. It is centrally located among a network of family farms and has solar panels that are elevated 10 feet above the ground, both to accommodate haying equipment and to satisfy Massachusetts regulations for incentives.

In the conversation, Nate describes the financial aspects of owning a solar array, how to harvest the sun during the winter, the interconnection of family farmlands, and the role solar can play in farm ownership.

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-EE000937. Legal Disclaimer: The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Energy or the United States Government.

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Contact Stacie Peterson at stacieb@ncat.org

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You can get in touch with NCAT/ATTRA specialists and find access to our trusted, practical sustainable-agriculture publications, webinars, videos, and other resources at ATTRA.NCAT.ORG.

Learn about NCAT’s other innovative sustainable agriculture programs.

The AgriSolar Clearinghouse Podcast officially kicks off with a conversation between Meg Caley, Executive Director and co-founder of the Colorado nonprofit Sprout City Farms and NCAT Energy Director Stacie Peterson. They discuss the many additive benefits of agrisolar, the challenges of farming in an obstacle course, and the importance of community. AgriSolar podcast episodes will be available on Voices from the Field, NCAT’s ATTRA sustainable agriculture podcast series.

Sprout City Farms began in 2010 with a vision of increasing food access and community resiliency through farming underutilized urban land. Among its partnerships, Sprout City Farms works with Jack’s Solar Garden in Longmont, Colorado, growing crops in the spaces between solar panels at the site, which is the largest agrivoltaic research facility of its kind in the United States.

You can read more about Sprout City Farms, Jack’s Solar Garden, and the Colorado Agrivoltaic Learning Center at these websites: 

Sprout City Farms 

Jack’s Solar Garden 

Colorado Agrivoltaic Learning Center 

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 a big opportunity to pair solar with agricultural land to produce food, conserve ecosystems, create renewable energy, increase pollinator habitat, and maximize farm revenue.   

 In this episode of the ATTRA podcast series, Voices from the Field, NCAT Communications Director Emilie Ritter Saunders speaks with Energy Programs Director Stacie Peterson, Phd., about how the AgriSolar Clearinghouse aims to make solar more accessible to land managers looking to make the most out of their land, diversify their revenue, and produce renewable energy.   

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Please complete a brief survey to let us know your thoughts about the content of this podcast.

You can get in touch with NCAT/ATTRA specialists and find our other extensive, and free, sustainable-agriculture publications, webinars, videos, and other resources on NCAT/ATTRA’s homepage.

This podcast is produced by the National Center for Appropriate Technology through the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture program, under a cooperative agreement with USDA Rural Development. ATTRA.NCAT.ORG.  

A recent episode of ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture podcast Voices from the Field takes a look at solar grazing, the practice of using livestock to manage the vegetation under solar panels. Sheep are widely considered the best animal for solar grazing, and they are being used in many countries with great success.

National Center for Appropriate Technology Livestock Specialist Linda Coffey talks with Lexie Hain, a co-founder of the American Solar Grazing Association. Lexie, who began grazing sheep at solar arrays in 2016, talks about how she began solar grazing and offers practical tips for anyone who is considering the practice.

With agricultural land in high demand and requirements to expand renewable energy, using land for agriculture and energy at the same time is better for the environment, the solar company, the farmers, and the sheep.

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This podcast is produced by the National Center for Appropriate Technology through the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture program, under a cooperative agreement with USDA Rural Development. ATTRA.NCAT.ORG.