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.

ISU Researchers to Study Growing Crops in Solar Farms’ Shadow

play audio
Play

Monday, March 6, 2023   

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded Iowa State University a $1.8 million grant to raise high-dollar crops in the shadow of huge solar array panels that are becoming more common across the state.

Ag researchers and energy experts are studying ways for people to benefit from investments in renewable energy beyond just clean electricity.

It's called agrivoltaics, and it couples solar farms with agricultural practices in, around and underneath huge solar panels, where the resulting shade won't allow traditional agricultural crops to grow well.

Matt O'Neill - professor in plant biology, entomology and microbiology at Iowa State - said researchers are trying what are known as horticultural crops in the shadow of the solar arrays, crops he said could grow better and also tend to be more valuable.

"It's a mix of things," said O'Neill. "It can be things like broccoli, tomatoes, squashes - but also perennial crops like strawberries and blackberries and raspberries. "

O'Neill said Iowa's corn and soybeans, known as commodity crops, need a lot of land to be grown profitably - which is why he says 70% of Iowa's landscape is planted with them.

He said the growing number of solar farms will create more available land for horticultural crops, potentially creating another avenue for people who want to get into farming on a smaller scale than commodity crops such as corn and soybeans require.

O'Neill said there is some evidence that growing horticultural crops beneath the panels creates a cooler micro-climate, allowing the solar arrays to operate more efficiently when they are producing electricity.

Anne Kimber directs the Electric Power Research Center at Iowa State. She said given all of the benefits, she wants people to understand that using farmland in multiple ways - as agrivoltaics does - will be economically and environmentally beneficial for everyone.

"But that means that we're using land in a different way for those kinds of home-grown power systems," said Kimber. "And if we can demonstrate multiple values from these projects, then it does have greater value for the state of Iowa. It has greater value to the people who see these developments happening around them."

Construction on the 1.35-megawatt solar-farm agrivoltaics test site will begin next month on 10 acres south of Ames. Research is scheduled to begin next spring.




get more stories like this via email
more stories
An Associated Press/NORC poll found 47% of people are unlikely to purchase an electric vehicle, with the biggest reason being the high cost. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

As New York and New Jersey transition to electric vehicles, consumers have mixed feelings about it. Polls show fewer than half of New York drivers …


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…


Of more than 7,300 lawmakers nationwide, just 116, or 1.6%, currently or last worked in manual labor, service industry, clerical or labor union jobs. (Adobe Stock)

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% …

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 …

Researchers said many people in the U.S. have some protection against the COVID virus through vaccination or prior infection. (insta_photos/Adobe Stock)

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…

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 …

 

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