skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Thursday, November 30, 2023

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

As climate change conference opens, one CA city takes action; Israel and Hamas extend Gaza truce by one day in a last-minute deal; WV could lose hundreds of millions in Medicaid funding.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

An expulsion vote looms for Rep. George Santos, the Ohio Supreme Court dismisses lawsuits against district maps and the Supreme Court hears a case which could cut the power of federal agencies.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

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 Economic Policy Institute found the number of child labor law violations increased from 1,012 in 2015 to 3,876 in 2022. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

A bill in Congress with a Connecticut House sponsor aims to reduce child labor in the United States. Called the "Children Harmed in Life-Threatening …


Social Issues

play sound

As the opioid crisis continues, more New Hampshire grandparents are seeking financial help to raise their grandchildren. Already struggling with the …

Social Issues

play sound

As of Jan. 1, insulin will become a lot more affordable for many Nebraskans, and those who have come to rely on telehealth visits are more likely to …


Health and Wellness

play sound

November has been Diabetes Awareness Month - but heading into the holidays, people who are diabetic know they can't lose their focus on keeping it in …

Wolverine need deep snow for their habitats, but experts say snow levels are dwindling due to climate change. (jamenpercy/Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Conservation groups are celebrating a long-fought battle to protect the dwindling population of wolverine in the Northwest and northern Rockies…

Environment

play sound

A new report is calling for greater accountability in the system providing funding to farmers in underserved communities. The research takes a dive …

Health and Wellness

play sound

Research shows two in 10 Iowa youth report they have considered suicide, and to confront the crisis, doctors and social scientists are using federal …

 

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