student reading soil meter

Agrivoltaics

Agrivoltaics combines solar photovoltaic-based renewable energy generation with agricultural production. The technology shows promise to mitigate climate change impacts on crop and livestock productivity, generate significant clean, renewable energy, increase agricultural water efficiency, diversify and enhance income sources for farmers, and increase the productivity of agricultural land-use in the nation. 

The College of Agricultural Sciences and Agricultural Experiment Station is building infrastructure and supporting fundamental and practical research needed to accelerate the adoption of innovative agrivoltaic systems in Colorado. 

Achievements

Photovoltaic Panels

Are being constructed over the Semi-Arid Grassland Research Center, an AES rangeland site located in Nunn, CO. 

Experimental Agrivoltaic Research Arrays

CSU faculty, Alan Knapp–Biology and Ron Meyer–extension agronomist, are currently funded by the USDA-NIFA Sustainable Agricultural Systems program to build replicated Experimental Agrivoltaic Research Arrays –consisting of rows of PV panels deployed at low-density to accommodate dual agriculture and energy generation land use in native Colorado grasslands. 

$180K in Funding

Colorado Department of Agriculture has committed $180K in funding to install photovoltaic panels over cattle pens at CSU’s Agricultural Research, Development and Education Center. These panels will complement existing panels over sheep grazing areas already at the center.  

Small Scale Agrivoltaics

Small scale agrivoltaics experiments are underway at ARDEC-South over vegetables. These experiments, led by Mark Uchanski in HLA, are testing various panel transparencies for impacts on production.  

Solutions to Colorado Commodity Challenges Initiative

Through the Solutions to Colorado Commodity Challenges initiative, CAS and AES have invested a total of $160K into four projects to help CSU researchers build competitive programs in the area of agrivoltaics, including: 

$19,000

Rooftop Agrivoltaics

Support for the leafy green yield and environmental condition characterization research project.
Project Leads: Bousselot, Sampath, Sites, Meyer and Ballard.

$34,000

Evaluating the Potential of Different Agrivoltaic Systems in Colorado

Project Leads: Schipanski, Toy, Knapp, Malin, Macknick, Kominek. Partner:  Jack’s Solar Garden.

$24,000

Balancing Innovation with Practicality

Assessing agrivoltaics from the perspectives of Western Colorado fruit orchard growers.
Project Leads: Tonnessen, Hoag.

$30,000 

Agrivoltaics innovation for Colorado

Project Lead:  Uchanski; Partners: Irrigation Innovation Consortium; Sandbox Solar.