The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) announced the Foundational Agrivoltaic Research for Megawatt Scale (FARMS) funding opportunity, which will award $8 million in funding for projects that examine how agrivoltaics can scale up to provide new economic opportunities to farmers, rural communities, and the solar industry. Agrivoltaics is defined as agricultural production, such as crop production, livestock grazing, and pollinator habitat that exist underneath solar panels and/or in between rows of solar panels.
Projects will conduct a range of activities, including integrated agriculture-energy impact studies examining how agrivoltaic designs impact both agriculture production and energy production. Some projects will study how agrivoltaics can fit into existing agricultural communities and economies or enable new ones, while others will develop resources that will lower the barriers of entry to agrivoltaics, making it easier for agricultural producers and solar developers to benefit from these opportunities.
SETO’s goal is to reduce barriers to the deployment of utility- and community-scale solar energy necessary to meet the Biden administration’s goals for equitably decarbonizing the electricity sector by 2035. Scaling up the co-location of solar energy and agriculture has the potential to and provide additional benefits to farmers, rural communities and the solar industry.
DOE expects to make between four and six awards under FARMS, each ranging from $1 to 2 million. SETO is interested in projects that partner with farmers who are pursuing climate-smart and sustainable agriculture and are considering agrivoltaics to enhance the economic efficiency and sustainability of small- and medium-size farms. Additionally, SETO is interested in projects that offer economic benefits to underserved communities in agricultural regions.
To facilitate the formation of teams, SETO is providing a Teaming Partner List where interested parties who would like to apply to the FOA, but not as the prime applicant, may express interest to potential partners.
Prior to submitting a full application for this opportunity, a mandatory letter of intent is due on June 1, 2022 at 5 p.m. ET.
SETO will host an informational webinar on May 12, 2022 at 3 p.m. ET to discuss the funding program and the areas of focus. Register for the webinar.
News item from DOE