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Colorado grants fund agrivoltaics projects

Recipients promote energy production on working farmland.

Farm Press Staff

January 10, 2024

2 Min Read
Sheep graze near solar panels
Sheep graze near solar panels.Oregon State University

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and other state officials recently announced the approval of $500,000 in grants to seven projects that promote the use of agrivoltaics, the simultaneous use of land for solar energy production and agriculture.

Funded by bipartisan legislation, the grants show that agricultural production and energy department can help the state overcome climate challenges, state officials say.

“Colorado’s agriculture industry puts food on tables and helps drive our strong state economy. Agrivoltaics shows us how science and innovation can help Colorado’s bedrock industries take advantage of solar power and will help our hardworking farmers and ranchers get ahead,” Polis said.

The awardees include:

  • Namaste Solar (Weld County), which will test converting a conventional solar array into an Agrivoltaics system that supports grazing and growing crops.

  • Colorado State University (Fort Collins), which will study the economic tradeoffs of agrivoltaics versus traditional cropping systems and conventional solar arrays.

  • American Farmland Trust (statewide), which will conduct a strategic outreach project to Colorado producers exploring benefits and obstacles to advancing agrivoltaics in the state.

  • Colorado Cattleman’s Agricultural Land Trust (statewide), which will research current barriers to incorporating Agrivoltaics into conservation easements, and propose template language that could allow Agrivoltaic development.

  • Sandbox Solar (Fort Collins), which will install new bifacial vertical panels on an existing demonstration site.

  • Summit Cellars (Palisade), which will compare soil moisture data under agrivoltaic panels and in a traditional vineyard.

  • Longboard Power (Haxtun), which will test an agrivoltaic “shelterbelt” on the edge-of-farm, and capture soil, water, and energy production benefits.

Polis’ budget last fall included $900,000 to support renewable energy solutions in agriculture. In December, the governor unveiled a first-of-its-kind Climate Preparedness Roadmap, which outlines state actions to better prepare the state, including supporting agricultural producers, for the impacts of climate change.

For more information, visit ag.colorado.gov/ADCRO.

Source: Colorado Department of Agriculture

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