Tag Archive for: News

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.   

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced a $10 million funding opportunity for “innovative solutions and strategies that maximize benefits and minimize impacts to wildlife and ecosystems from solar energy infrastructure, ” according to a news release by the Solar Energy Technologies Office.

The Deploying Solar with Wildlife and Ecosystem Benefits (SolWEB) will fund projects that will facilitate ground-mounted solar-energy production compatible with wildlife, as well as projects that assess and optimize ecosystem benefits provided by solar energy, said the news release.

DOE anticipates two to three awards at $1.2 million for Wildlife-Solar Energy Interactions projects, and two to four awards at $500,000-$2 million for Ecosystem Services from Solar Facilities projects.

The funding will assist in achieving goals established by the Biden Administration, which include decarbonizing the electricity sector by 2035.

Find more information on this funding opportunity and details about how to submit a request here.

Agrivoltaics have been shown to contribute to achieving energy and food goals simultaneously through combining agricultural production with energy production, according to a recent report by Clean Technica. The report finds that global agrivoltaic energy production has grown from 5MW in 2012 to 2,900 MW in 2020.

The diverse options available through agrivoltaics can create opportunities for community interests, can reduce land use conflicts, and increase the economic value of farms using agrivoltaic systems, according to the report. A recent study conducted by Oregon State University estimates that the U.S. could meet renewable energy goals while saving water and creating a sustainable food system by converting just one percent of American farmland to agrivoltaics.

The report highlights multiple benefits for solar developers utilizing agrivoltaics. These benefits include reduced installation costs, increased PV performance, building closer links with agricultural land, reduced upfront risk, reduced legal risk and marketing opportunities. Land managers may also benefit from developing agrivoltaics by potentially extending growing seasons and water-use reduction, according to the report.

 To learn more about the details of each of these identified benefits, read the article here.

Trials Reveal benefits of Utilizing Agrivoltaic Systems

Research trials conducted by a collaboration between the University of Sheffield, World Agroforestry and the Latia Agripreneurship Institute have shown that agrivoltaic practices result in larger crops and reduced water loss, according to a recent report by The Guardian. The report explains that solar panels located above the crops can aid people with limited land resources by doubling the land’s output through cultivating food and generating power at the same time.

The “Mother of All” Agrivoltaic Projects Moves Forward in California

A report by Clean Technica has announced that the “Mother of All” agrivoltaic projects, Project Nexus, is scheduled to begin in California. The project includes constructing solar canopies over irrigation canals, which will highlight benefits of the symbiotic relationship between energy and water management. According to the report, the project could save 63 billion gallons of water per year, enough water to meet the irrigation demands of 50,000 acres of agricultural land.

Winners of Iberdrola Energy Contest Announced

Iberdrola, an energy company located in Spain, has announced the winners of its international Perseo startup program contest. The winners are the France-based companies Itk and Ombrea, Italian software company Techedge, and EcoEnergias del Guadiana, according to PV Magazine’s recent news release. The contest aimed to identify innovative approaches to combining agriculture, horticulture, livestock, fish-farming, and beekeeping with solar PV operations, according to the news release.

Connecticut’s Greenskies Solar Facilities Approved to Expand Agrivoltaics Operations

Two of Connecticut’s Greenskies Clean Energy solar facilities have been approved by the Connecticut Siting Council to move forward with expanding their agrivoltaic practices, according to a news report by PV Magazine. The solar farms are in East Windsor, CT and Orange, CT. The East Windsor farm will begin grazing sheep under solar panels, and the farm in Orange will grow organic vegetables between row of the solar modules.

French President Identifies Solar as Solution to Reach Energy Goals

French president Emmanuel Macron recently identified solar and agrivoltaics as a solution to reach France’s energy goals by 2050, according to PV Magazine. France aims to produce 100GW by 2050 and identifies agrivoltaics as one of the “three pillars” of solar development in the country. The goal of producing 100GW by 2050 means roughly 5 GW of annual installations need to be completed.

Greenbacker Capital Invests in Solar Development

Greenbacker Capital has announced that it will be investing in a California-based solar developer, Noria Energy, according to a recent report. The investment will assist Noria in scaling solar projects that are both ground-mounted and floating solar arrays, known as floatovoltaics. Noria hosts solar operations in both Latin America and the United States.

Solar Powered Canals to be Tested in California

Project Nexus was recently approved by California’s Turlock Irrigation District to move forward with constructing the nation’s first solar panels over water canals. This project will assist California in reaching the state’s decarbonization goals by 2030. The project is based on research conducted by a University of California graduate student and commissioned by the Sierra Nevada Research Institute, UC Water, and Solar Aquagrid, according to a recent UC Merced article

Solar-Powered Oyster Barge Sets Sail in Chesapeake Bay

A solar-powered oyster barge is now operating in Chesapeake Bay to assist in the restoration of Chesapeake Bay’s aquaculture. The barge will grow oysters that will be used for filtering water in other areas of the bay. The new barge features 12 solar panels that generate roughly 24 kilowatt-hours of energy each day, according to this report. Solar Oysters, the partnership between Maritime Applied Physics Corporation (MAPS) and the Ecologix Group, Inc. that made the solar barge possible, plans to develop more barges in the future that will grow oysters fit for consumption.