Feed Individuals, Power Economies, Foster Peace with Agrivoltaics

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Amidst the noise, haste, and chaos of contemporary life there are extra optimistic developments for humanity than one may suppose. Everyone focuses on the disasters of the local weather disaster, and whereas these do encourage our each day work, we additionally really feel it’s necessary to focus on the hopeful – the very actual improvements pushing our clear energy motion ahead. This is the newest in our new column “Rational Cause for Optimism” by ReVision co-founder Phil Coupe.

Rational Cause for Optimism: Foster Peace with Agrivoltaics

by Co-Founder Phil Coupe

When it was nonetheless a part of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was known as the ‘breadbasket’ of Russia due to its uncommonly fertile soil and local weather. Now beneath vicious assault, Ukraine is preventing for survival towards an immoral, nuclear-equipped authoritarian regime that desires to show again the clock to the darkest of instances.

This horrific struggle, unfolding earlier than the world’s fearful eyes, forces us to stretch our creativeness in pursuit of rationality, optimism, and hope for a greater future. Today we have to determine the right way to starve dictators by weaning off fossil fuels whereas changing the once-abundant output of Europe’s badly broken breadbasket.

Continuous innovation in agriculture and energy have stored a lot of the world moderately well-fed and energized however we now face the twin threats of intensifying local weather harm and political destabilization, each ensuing from the worldwide petro cartels that shield dictators like Putin and delay the urgently wanted clear energy transition.

Sheep graze beneath a ReVision-built array in Skowhegan, ME.

Thank goodness for folks like Colorado-based farmer Byron Kominek, the driving pressure behind Jack’s Solar Garden, who’re discovering methods to extend meals and renewable energy manufacturing at what looks like a deadly hour for all. Installed by fellow B Corp and Amicus member Namaste Solar, Jack’s Solar Garden is an experiment to combine agriculture and clear energy manufacturing to see if a ‘dual use’ method may help enhance meals and energy safety.

Based on early outcomes from Jack’s Solar Garden, and from ongoing analysis worldwide, agrivoltaics (twin use farming) has immense potential to alleviate a few of our worst issues. According to the 2021 report “Dual Use, Dual Value Solar Agrivoltaics Power Farm Economics,” by Dr. Maggie Teliska and Michael P. Totten, simply 1% of current cultivated agricultural lands putting in agrivoltaic microgrids may meet worldwide energy demand.

This truth enhances a current research by the Australian National University that found earth’s topography and hydrogeology has the potential for 100 instances extra Pumped Hydro Energy Storage than what is required for a world transition to 100% renewable energy.

Another current report, “Agrivoltaics: Producing Solar Energy While Protecting Farmland,” by Bill Pederson and Brooks Lamb, exhibits how the twin use method can dramatically improve land productiveness:


The outcomes depicted above are already being actualized within the real-world of Jack’s Solar Garden the place Kominek was in a position to produce 8,600 kilos of produce by planting seeds between the rows of solar panels in 2021.

Jack’s Solar Garden, Photo Credit: NPR

Food manufacturing and energy era have lengthy been considered as incompatible on the identical patch of earth, if not mutually unique. The profitable proof of idea that’s Jack’s Solar Garden, together with solar grazing initiatives, has debunked the notion that clear, zero-emission solar energy manufacturing conflicts with farming. While crops can develop robustly between rows of solar panels, it seems that livestock are the best ‘lawnmowers’ for ground-mounted solar arrays as a result of they hold vegetation from rising tall sufficient to shade the panels:

Sunshine, solar panels and twin use farming are usually not going to cease the struggle in Ukraine nor shut down Russian oil manufacturing anytime quickly, however they’re quickly changing into a potent antidote to the previous, current and future adverse impacts of our over-reliance on fossil fuels. As we scale up confirmed options like agrivoltaics, we are going to weaken the petro-cartels and the undemocratic, authoritarian dictatorships they assist hold in power.

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