Funds for Agrivoltaics in Colorado
An agrivoltaic research partnership in Boulder is one of 7 projects that has been funded by The Irrigation Innovation Consortium (IIC). The ICC is a university and industry collaboration designed to develop water- and energy-efficient irrigation technology.
Since 2017 Jack’s Solar Garden has been mixing solar power and agriculture creating Agrivoltaics Learning Center.
Agrivoltaics involves using solar panels above growing plants. The panels provide shade and reduce water use while sending potential power to the energy grid.
Bingle:” ...especially in drought-stricken areas where we are it helps that you don’t have to water quite as much.
Center Educator Andy Bingle in a recent video adds that growing plants release water into the air providing a cooling effect for the panels.
Bingle: “Solar panels get a little more efficient the cooler they are so that means they’re going to pump out more electrons onto the grid and more electricity.”
The newly funded team led by Jordan Macknick of the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden is quantifying irrigation savings and cost trade-offs under and around solar panels using different vegetation types at Jacks’s Solar Garden. The use of solar panels and agriculture often compete for land resources. The project’s aim is to show that, co-locating agriculture and solar panel systems could improve the efficiencies of both.
The project receives an investment of more than $150k, including funding matches.