Community Solar Initiative To Bring Clean Energy To Farmers
May 26, 2023
The community solar project, Farmers Powering Communities, expects to deploy 500 MW of community solar capacity in farmlands in five years, thanks to its partnership with Aggreko Energy Transition Solutions (ETS).
According to a report by PV Magazine, Aggreko ETS announced this month it would become the capital partner of Farmers Powering Communities (FPC). Thanks to this new partnership and with the help of non-profit groups Elden Renewable, the American Farmland Trust, and community solar aggregator Arcadia, FPC expects to deploy more community solar projects.
“Expanding access to community solar, which offers a cost-efficient way for people to use solar energy, aligns with our mission to accelerate the energy transition through clean energy infrastructure that delivers reliable, economic energy,” said Prashanth Prakash, Aggreko ETS chief commercial officer, “Working together, we are confident of our success in bringing the economic and environmental benefits of community solar to small-town America.
The program plans to develop projects of 25 to 50 acres of community solar for residents who don’t have access to clean energy. A community solar project allows residents who can’t install solar panels or don’t have access to a renewable source of energy to benefit from the solar farm. This type of project can help low to middle- income residents.
Farmers Powering Communities are working with American Farmland Trust, whose goal is to encourage solar energy development and safeguard land suited for farming and ranching.
“Farmers are on the frontlines of climate change, experiencing extreme weather events that impact their crops, livestock and livelihoods,” said John Piotti, American Farmland Trust president and chief executive officer. “We also know that farms can be part of the solution to the climate crisis. Farmland can draw carbon from the air to rebuild soil when farmed using climate-smart practices like cover crops and reduced tillage. We need to dramatically ramp up solar energy production while retaining our farms and ranches.”
Solar development is essential to power communities and fight climate change, and can be installed in the same farming land to use the land in a more efficient way. Agrivoltaics is a practice that combines solar energy with agricultural activities on the same land. The solar panels are mounted at a certain height above the land, providing shade for crops or animals underneath.
Farmer Powering Communities projects will emphasize agrivoltaics to sustain agricultural production and produce solar energy.