Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Play

The youngest students along with faculty and staff will need to mask up in states like New Mexico; and President Biden calls for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign following a report on sexual harassment.

Play

Gov. Andrew Cuomo reacts to sexual harassment report; CDC places new limits on evictions until October; and a new study finds Democrats could lose control of US House in 2022 due to Republican gerrymandering.

CO Family Farm Taps Solar to Boost Revenues, Food Production

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

Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry's, could land on a list of more than 60 blacklisted companies prohibited from doing business with the State of Florida. (Stevepb/Pixabay)

Health and Wellness

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Ron DeSantis is promising to block any state money from going to the parent company of ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry's unless …


Social Issues

LAS VEGAS - Las Vegas is trying to make it easier for people experiencing homelessness to get to their appointments with social service agencies by in…

Environment

BILLINGS, Mont. - Montanans are being challenged this month to eat locally grown foods, every day of August. The Northern Plains Resource Council is …


Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families is also asking the Arkansas Legislature to reconsider Act 977, which bans state and local officials from mandating COVID-19 vaccinations. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- COVID-19 has given a whole new meaning to the term "Extraordinary Session," as state lawmakers are in Little Rock again today to …

Health and Wellness

SEATTLE - Speaking to folks who are hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine has gained a new sense of urgency as the Delta variant pushes cases up…

Ayolanda Evans Mack of the group Protect Minnesota is at the helm of a new documentary about what it would take to rid a community of gun violence. (Black Light Media)

Social Issues

MINNEAPOLIS - Cities such as Minneapolis are getting attention over waves of gun violence in recent months. A statewide group hopes a new documentary …

Social Issues

FARGO, N.D. -- The people behind efforts to recall four Fargo School Board members have until August 25th to collect signatures. Ahead of that …

Social Issues

By Katie Fleischer for Ms. MagazineBroadcast version by Lily Böhlke for Tennessee News Service/Public News Service NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After …

 

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