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.
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), 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.
“There are tremendous benefits of pairing solar and agriculture,” said Stacie Peterson, director of energy programs at NCAT. “As America’s appetite for sustainably grown products and renewable energy continues to increase, ‘agrisolar’ has the potential to provide both resources. AgriSolar is a win-win.”
NCAT’s AgriSolar Clearinghouse features a library of peer-reviewed information, a media hub featuring videos, podcasts and relevant news and a user forum to connect people interested in agrisolar development in real-time.
“The AgriSolar Clearinghouse will present a platform open to all Americans for sharing the nationwide efforts in agricultural integration at solar facilities,” said Lexie Hain, executive director of the American Solar Grazing Association. “The exciting thing for us at ASGA is that the AgriSolar Clearinghouse will amplify a thoughtful and trusted approach to expanding America’s efforts in solar and agricultural land use.”
The project’s group of more than 30 partners and stakeholders representing private business, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, national energy laboratories, the Smithsonian and universities will be a key ingredient in supporting the expansion of agrisolar developments across the country.
NCAT’s AgriSolar Clearinghouse is funded by a three-year, $2.03 million cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The Solar Energy Technologies Office supports early-stage research and development to improve the affordability, reliability and domestic benefit of solar technologies on the grid.
“NCAT and our partners are well-positioned to help solar developers and farmers connect to make the most out of co-locating solar arrays and agricultural land,” NCAT Executive Director Steve Thompson said. “For 45 years, NCAT has been a trusted broker of practical information to advance locally grown and sustainable agriculture and energy solutions.”
News item from National Center for Appropriate Technology