skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Friday, June 14, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

SCOTUS begins issuing new opinions, with another expected related to the power of federal agencies, the battleground state of Wisconsin gets a ruling on alternative voting sites, and coastal work is being done to help salt marshes withstand hurricanes.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

CO Family Farm Taps Solar to Boost Revenues, Food Production

play audio
Play

Thursday, January 21, 2021   

LONGMONT, Colo. -- As the nation moves to ramp up clean-energy production, Jack's Solar Garden, a locally owned farm just south of Longmont, could provide a model for family-scale operations across the U.S.

The farm has boosted revenues after planting 3,200 solar panels, enough to power more than 300 homes, and uses the soil underneath to grow produce.

Jordan Macknick, lead energy-water-land analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, is the lead researcher on co-locating solar with agriculture, or agrivoltaics.

"You're really harvesting the sun twice," Macknick explained. "You can utilize the sun that hits the solar panels to produce clean electricity. And all of the sun that lands around the panels, underneath the panels, that can be converted into food, into agricultural production."

Some farmers have been reluctant to embrace the idea of adding large solar panels to productive fields, worried they would compete with plants for sunlight.

Macknick noted Jack's solar panels sit about eight feet above ground, and they're spaced out to allow enough sunlight through to keep the soil productive.

The farm also is working to help struggling butterflies, bees and other pollinator species, which are key to producing a wide range of foods, by adding flowers and grasses they need to thrive underneath panels.

Macknick added pollinator-friendly plants have long root systems, which help conserve water by soaking up rainfall, important for semi-arid regions such as Colorado.

"Incorporating pollinator habitat under solar arrays gives us an opportunity to create massive pollinator habitat at scale, which then can benefit our surrounding agricultural communities," Macknick emphasized.

Jack's donates a portion of the credits it receives for energy added to the local power grid to the Boulder County Housing Authority to help low-income households.

The farm also hires artists to illustrate the value of combining food and solar production, and offers tours to visiting farmers and local schools to help cultivate the next generation of agrivoltaic farmers.


get more stories like this via email

more stories
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated a total of $16 billion to address legacy pollution, including $11.3 billion in abandoned mine land funding over 15 years. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Kentucky will receive $74 million to clean up legacy pollution in regions decimated by decades of coal mining. The money is part of $725 million in …


Social Issues

play sound

Legislation in Connecticut could help reduce the ongoing child care workforce shortage Reports show some 40,000 child care positions unfilled…

Social Issues

play sound

Half of Americans go to work every day in the service industry, doing clerical work or in construction and other manual labor jobs but fewer than 2% …


Pew researchers said 79% of Americans favor maximum-age limits for federal elected officials. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

The age of both presidential front-runners has drawn extra attention in this year's race and meanwhile, North Dakota voters this week embraced …

Health and Wellness

play sound

The Food and Drug Administration has advised makers of the COVID-19 vaccine to formulate the next dosage to fight the JN.1 strain of the virus…

New data show nearly 30% of Generation Z adults identify as LGBTQ+, according to the Human Rights Campaign. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Full-time LGBTQ+ workers make about 90 cents for every dollar earned by the average worker in the U.S. Today is LGBTQ+ Equal Pay Awareness Day…

Environment

play sound

About 1.6 million acres of Great Plains grasslands were destroyed in 2021 alone, according to a recent report, an area the size of Delaware. One …

Social Issues

play sound

Help is available for people looking to break out of a low-wage, "go-nowhere" job because the nonprofit Merit America is expanding its training …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021