Farm-Friendly Solar

New land use strategies for farm-friendly solar blend utility-scale solar into the agricultural landscape and rural economies. Farm-friendly solar strategies provide improved site aesthetics, soil health and productivity, water conservation and ecosystem services such as groundwater recharge and habitat for important pollinator species. Farm-friendly practices bring greater value to the local community and agriculture while also enhancing project viability.

Rural businesses and electric cooperatives have pioneered farm-friendly solar. As solar costs decline, usage grows – as was the case in 2017 when installed community solar projects grew by 112%. We can expect more creativity in adapting solar into rural landscapes and farm and business operations.

Of course, many farmers harvest the sun with solar arrays sited on-site to power their farms. On-farm solar generation is beneficial because consumption is close to the point of production. Solar energy costs continue to decrease, and on-site solar is comparable to traditional power prices.  Furthermore, solar costs — unlike other energy costs — will not escalate in the future. Additionally, solar can help farmers meet the growing demands for sustainability and clean energy in the marketplace.

Many solar development approaches incorporate “low impact development (LID)” practices, which stress using on-site natural features to reduce runoff and protect water quality. This section provides an illustration of current, primary approaches while acknowledging that new practices evolve quickly as solar builders pioneer this field.  We will address prairie solar (or “pollinator-friendly solar”) and solar pastures which taken together, make up “farm-friendly solar.”

Prairie Solar

Farm Friendly Solar Videos

Cooperatives & Communities: Concerns and Benefits

Prairie Restoration and Pollinator-Friendly Solar

Why Native Plants

Cost and Maintenance

Looking to the Future

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