US DOE: Farmer's Guide to Going Solar
A growing number of farms and agricultural businesses are looking to solar to power their daily operations. Thanks in part to the Solar Energy Technologies Office's investments, the cost of going solar has declined, enabling more installations across the country. Consider these questions to help you determine what’s best for you and your farm.
Here are the questions this US DOE website addresses:
- Will solar modules contaminate the soil underneath or around them?
- Can solar modules change the microclimate underneath the modules and worsen invasive species, fungal, nematode or other pest problems?
- Will solar modules heat up and dry out vegetation or crops under the modules?
- Can wild animals like antelope or elk graze under solar modules?
- Can domesticated animals like sheep or cattle graze at ground-mounted solar facilities?
- What is the impact of solar modules on birds or other wildlife species?
- Can you grow native vegetation or pollinator habitat underneath solar modules?
- Will solar modules drive up the price of food?
- Is it safe to spray agrochemicals near solar modules?
- Can solar modules power my irrigation equipment?
- I lease my farmland. Can I still install solar PV?
- I can’t drive my tractor through or around solar modules. Are there ways I can still install solar?
- I need to burn my fields every year. Can I still install solar PV?
- My farmland floods in the spring. Can I still install solar PV?
- What are the impacts of dust on the performance of solar PV modules?
- Can my land be converted back to agricultural land after the life of the solar system?
- What are the benefits of co-locating solar and crop production?
- Are there trade-offs of raising solar modules to accommodate crop production?