Thank you readers and writers for engaging in this ongoing conversation about solar energy and farming, the merging of which has the title “agrivoltaics.” After the letter response last week to my letter of the week before, I looked into this topic a bit more, where crops or grazing lands are joined with solar farms to not take farmland out of agricultural production, but to merge the two through thoughtful planning and planting.
Lo and behold, there is an upcoming conference in Chicago on this subject in mid-March where a farmer or rancher who is interested in pursuing this field can attend for free.
I’m sending the address so anyone here that is interested can look into this. It would also be great if any of the decision makers who sit on planning or local boards could go, since you are asked to make decisions about the permitting or not of solar farms and are hearing arguments about their dire consequences on the land and the community.
It seems it’s not an either or proposition, either productive farmland or solar farm, but can actually be both. Also yes, would be good to see solar in urban, suburban as well as rural areas; we’re all consumers of energy and can also be producers of energy one would think.
It’s not an either/or question but one that calls for asking how we can live here in more sustainable ways, that acknowledge both our responsibilities and capacities to change and develop. The web address for the conference is solarfarmsummit.com.
— Miriam Marcus