Tag Archive for: News

Australian Guide to Agrisolar for Large-scale Solar Published by Clean Energy Council 

“As interest grows in agrisolar – using land for both agriculture and solar power – the Clean Energy Council has produced the Australian Guide to Agrisolar for Large-scale Solar to assist proponents of utility-scale solar and the landholders and farmers who work with them to integrate agricultural activities into solar farm projects.” – Renewable Energy Magazine 

Agrisolar: Solar Industry Hopes Farmers Will Help Solve Grid Access Problems  

“The Clean Energy Council says working with Australian farmers could help solve the growing problem of grid access for new large-scale solar farms, in a new paper promoting ‘agrisolar’” If done right, the paper argues solar farms can improve both grazing and crop land, while allowing solar farms to be built in areas where the electricity network is strong, providing a win-win for both solar developers and farmers.” – Renew Economy 

Dairies Powered By the Sun and Batteries: Trans-Tasman AgriSolar Start-up Gathers Pace 

“A New Zealand-based start-up offering dairy farmers cheap and reliable solar and battery-backed power purchase contracts has raised $4 million from an Australian-led investment round. Based in Christchurch, Solagri installs solar and batteries on dairy farms in the Canterbury region of New Zealand at no up-front cost, instead signing the farmers up to long-term PPAs guaranteed to supply 100% of their dairy sheds’ electricity needs.” – One Step off the Grid 

2 Connecticut Solar Farms Will Also Grow Crops 

“Connecticut-based Greenskies Clean Focus is bringing farming to solar fields across Connecticut. Following the recent green light from the Connecticut Siting Council, two new Greenskies solar power and agricultural co-use projects will break ground later this year in Orange and East Windsor. The solar array in Orange will act as a distributed energy resource facility benefiting the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) through a virtual net metering agreement.” – Solar Power World 

Australian Solar Farm Set to Co-exist with Existing Lamb Production 

“A potential 300MW solar farm with a 600MWh battery energy storage system founded by a group of local farmers in Bungendore, New South Wales, has gained backing from the federal government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation and investment company Octopus Australia. As the project website details, the solar farm will co-exist with existing lamb production, which will be accommodated by placing the rows of panels around six meters apart, allowing for grazing as well as for the optimal performance of the planned single-axis tracking system.” – Renew Economy 

Solar Farm in Dunfermline Could Power Roughly 7,000 Homes 

“A new solar farm in Dunfermline will have the capacity to power 7,000 homes per year if it gets the green light. Plans for the energy park with 75,000 solar panels have been lodged with Fife Council at the former Lochhead open cast mine in Wellend. The company behind the application, Dunfermline Solar Ltd, part of AMPYR Solar Europe, says the plans will be a source of new low carbon power and supports the Scottish Government’s commitment to renewable energy.” – The Courier

Italian University Signs Four-Year Agrivoltaics Research Agreement

“Statkraft Italy has signed a four-year research agreement with the Department of Agro-Environmental and Territorial Sciences (DiSAAT) at the University of Bari Aldo Moro in Southern Italy. The title of the project is “Agri-photovoltaics for a sustainable future. The aim of the research activities is to deepen new approaches, methodologies, and innovative technologies in the field of electricity generation and agriculture, and to achieve the correct integration between photovoltaic systems and primary production, optimizing the yield in both fields. The solutions will be aimed at public administrations, entrepreneurs, farmers, and local communities,” – Statkraft

Rooftop Agrivoltaics Research Continues in Colorado

“While rooftop agrivoltaics is in its infancy, this vertically integrated approach to urban land use can increase resilience in urban food systems, expand renewable energy production, and decrease water consumption. The benefits associated with rooftop agrivoltaics warrant further investigation as we re-envision underutilized spaces in urban environments. Colorado State University is continuing research on rooftop agrivoltaics to analyze the growing conditions, yield, and power generation potential of these systems,” – Live Architecture Montioring

Arizona’s First Solar Closes Agreement with Silicon Ranch

“Arizona’s First Solar announced that it has come to terms on a multi-year master supply agreement with southern utility-scale solar developer, Silicon Ranch, under which First Solar will supply 4GWof advanced thin film photovoltaic modules to Silicon Ranch’s projects in the United States from 2023 to 2025. While this is not the first supply partnership to be reached between the two companies, the level of commitment dramatically expands on their prior partnership, under which First Solar has supplied modules to over 30 projects totaling more than 1GW since 2015.” – PV Magazine

This study applies Legal Framework Analysis to identify barriers and opportunities for a comprehensive legal infrastructure to enable agrivoltaics in the U.S. e State of Massachusetts is used as a case study to understand what elements of their regulatory regime contribute to their novel agrivoltaic policy program, while also considering the surrounding federal and local government dynamics in which this state program is embedded.

The case study shows that a comprehensive legal framework for agrivoltaics should arguably include a combination of federal and state energy financing mechanisms coupled with favorable state and local land use policies. Specifically, a state-level feed-in tariff and local government allowances for mixed land use between solar and agriculture will be the key features of an enabling legal framework.

Walt Disney World recently announced its plan to achieve net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2030 by installing two 75-megawatt solar arrays, according to a news release by One Green Planet. These arrays will result in roughly 40% of Disney World’s electricity being powered by solar energy.  

“Our commitment to the environment goes beyond imagining a brighter, more sustainable future by putting possibility into practice to ensure a happier, healthier planet for all,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World Resort, according to the news release. 

The project will include installing roughly 500,000 solar panels, which will produce more than 375,000-megawatt-hours of carbon-free solar energy within a year of operation. Other Disney locations, including Disneyland Paris, are developing solar installations such as solar parking-lot canopies, which reduce greenhouse emissions by 750 tons of carbon dioxide annually, according to One Green Planet.  

Conservation Blueprint, a company that works within the renewable energy industry to design, establish, and manage the final vegetative cover on solar energy projects, has partnered with the team at Walt Disney World to design seed mixtures to be used with the solar energy installations. Peter Berthelsen, a stakeholder with the AgriSolar Clearinghouse and president of Conservation Blueprint, stated, “Creating and managing renewable energy projects with pollinator benefits in mind is a great way to [achieve] environmental sustainability results.” 

The solar arrays will begin operations in 2023. The installation will make Disney the largest commercial consumer of solar energy in the state of Florida. 

Stanford University engineers have announced that they have developed a new type of solar cell capable of generating electricity not just during the day but also at night, according to a recent report by National Public Radio.  

The new technology includes a device that incorporates a thermoelectric generator, pulling electricity from “the small difference in temperature between the ambient air and the solar cell itself,” according to the report.  

A recent study published by the journal Applied Physics Letters states that the new solar device serves as “continuous renewable power source for both day- and nighttime, and the approach can provide nighttime standby lighting and power in off-grid and mini-grid applications, where solar-cell installations are gaining popularity.” 

To learn more about the new technology, read the NPR report here

AgriSolar Clearinghouse Visits Biosphere 2 

“The AgriSolar Clearinghouse is taking a national tour of operational agrivoltaic operations, sharing knowledge, and bringing attention to a practice with numerous (and perhaps unexpected) benefits. The first stop on the tour is the agrivoltaic array at Biosphere 2, a research center run by the University of Arizona. Biosphere 2 is nothing short of incredible, it is a 3.14-acre laboratory in the middle of the hot, dry Sonoran Desert that is referred to as the world’s largest earth science experiment. Contained inside the massive facility is a climate-controlled environment, complete with ocean, rainforest, mangrove, desert, and savanna-simulating conditions.” – PV Magazine 

Rooftop Agrivoltaics Shows Potential to Revolutionize Urban Farming 

“Rooftop agrivoltaics have the potential to revolutionize urban farming. Just like the multifunctionality of agroforestry, which arguably revolutionized rural farming in the 1980s and 1990s, the multifunctionality of rooftop agrivoltaics can provide parallel co-benefits in urban spaces. Agroforestry has the co-benefits of growing food, sequestering carbon, and providing other ecosystem services in the same space – rooftop agrivoltaics is an urban analog. Although, rather than storing energy in the form of slow-growing biomass (wood), it harnesses the power of a rapidly renewable source – the sun.” – Live Architecture Monitor 

New Agrivoltaic Solar Canopy Designed in France 

French solar company TSE has released a new photovoltaic canopy for applications in agrivoltaic projects. The system features a rotating canopy that can host bifacial solar modules at a height of more than 5.5 meters. The canopy is placed on a four-post structure measuring 27 m x 12 m. “Our canopy is compatible with all agricultural machinery, including very large ones like combines, sprayers and spreaders,” the company’s president, Mathieu Debonnet, told pv magazine. The company said the canopy technology is particularly suitable for cereal farms that grow rapeseed, maize, barley, and vegetable protein, as well as sheep and cattle farms.” – PV Magazine 

Vermont Farm Shows Benefits of Grazing Sheep on Solar Farms 

A report by North American Clean Energy reveals the benefits of grazing sheep on solar farms. The sheep are small enough to graze under the panels, which are sometimes hard to reach with maintenance equipment and often damaged by cows. Unlike goats, sheep are unlikely to chew on wiring and more likely to search for vegetation that other animals may not reach. Many solar farms in the nation are utilizing sheep for Agrisolar operations due to the natural behavior of the sheep as well as reducing carbon emissions and operation costs, according to the report.   

New Solar Filters May Enhance Crop Production 

Researchers from North Carolina State University have discovered that a variety of filters in greenhouses may enhance the production of crops such as lettuce, according to a news release by PV Magazine. Researchers used what is known as transcriptomic analysis to assess variations of crops grown in greenhouses equipped with organic solar cells coated with filters that may be adjusted in order to fine-tune characteristics of the crops being grown. In this study, Red Leaf Lettuce was used, according to the news release. 

Illinois Study Aims to Discover Which Crops Pair Well with Solar  

An Illinois project was recently approved for funding by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study agrivoltaic designs and variations of crop species, according to a report by PV Magazine. The project, Sustainably Collocating Agricultural and Photovoltaic Electricity Systems (SCAPES), will study specialty crops, row crops and foraging crops in three biophysically diverse environments in Arizona, Colorado and Illinois, according to the report.  

Indiana communities can now voluntarily adopt regulations qualifying them as solar and wind-ready communities, according to a recent news story by PV Magazine. This change is expected to create thousands of jobs in the clean energy industry, cut development times, and lower overall costs. 

Sean Brady, Clean Grid Alliance’s State Policy Manager, told PV Magazine, “We hope that counties in Indiana will use these new standards, but if not, we look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders to explore ways to grow the state’s energy economy.” Indiana is expected to increase its solar capacity to 6.75 GWs in the next five years, according to the story. Roughly 4,657 MW of clean energy is in the advanced stages of development in Indiana, and 1,218 MW under construction, according to the American Clean Power Association. 

To learn more about Indiana’s clean power development and the new law it passed to support renewable development, read the PV Magazine  here.  

Massachusetts Farmer Identifies Agrivoltaic Benefits 

Northfield, Massachusetts, farmer Jesse Robertson-Dubois is identifying benefits of integrating agrivoltaics into farm operations, according to a news release by the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Dubois elaborates on the misconceptions that solar integration into farmland destroys the land and that developer’s “prey” on landowners. Dubois says that not only does this sound silly to farmers, but  agrivoltaic system designs could be “incubators of agricultural innovation and economic development,” according to the news release. Read more about the discussion here

Delhi-Based Solar Developer Secures $1 Million in Funding  

Oorja, a Delhi-based solar provider, has secured $1 million in seed funding for agrisolar project development in India, according to a news report by Mercom. The funding comes from Schneider Energy Access Asia and is expected to develop 121 solar projects in 2022 and save around 200 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions by December 2022, according to the report. Read more about the funding here.   

Solar System Successfully Grows Crops Using Hydrocell 

According to a report by ScienceDaily, a new system and low-cost strategy has successfully grown crops in Saudi Arabia by drawing water vapor from the air while producing electricity. This method is a sustainable strategy for improving water and food security for those living in dry-climate regions like Saudi Arabia, according to the report. To learn how the system works, which involves solar panels placed on top of the hydrocell to collect water vapor, click here

Pilot Project in Netherlands Focuses on Agrisolar Operations 

Swedish multinational power company Vattenfall announced that a four-year pilot project has been approved in the Netherlands, according to a recent news release. The project will study the combination of organic crop cultivation and solar panels in Almere, focusing on “smart solar and farming practices.” Data from the smart solar operations will be studied to improve the results of similar operations in the future, according to a news release by Renew Economy.