skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Monday, December 4, 2023

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

NH gun-safety advocates advise services, bipartisan laws after deadly shootings; Food banks, pantries address rising food insecurity during winter holidays; Despite cost debate, some MN businesses intrigued by paid-leave law.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Muslim American leaders in swing states like Michigan threaten to Abandon Biden, VP Harris criticizes greenwashing at COP28, former congresswoman Cheney calls the GOP a "threat," and George Santos is expelled.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Growing veggies with a side of solar cuts emissions, boosts land access

play audio
Play

Thursday, September 28, 2023   

The arrival of fall has farmers transitioning to the harvest season, but what if some gathered their crops with rows of solar panels right alongside them?

Minnesota is part of such emerging projects. The agrivoltaics scene is carving out pathways for utilities and developers to reduce carbon emissions by adding more solar farms, while allowing emerging farmers, who face land-access issues, to grow fruits and vegetables on the same property.

Brian Ross, vice president of renewable energy for the Great Plains Institute, said it is a great example of two worlds working to benefit each other.

"We're all working together to kind of take that example of local food production and try to expand it out. How can we actually put this at scale?" Ross asked. "How can we do it within the context of existing solar-development parameters?"

As they track the effectiveness of smaller projects, Ross noted they need to figure out certain logistics, such as the ideal height of the solar panels. Other partners say irrigation is another puzzle to solve. The Minnesota project involves the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Connexus Energy, U.S. Solar and Big River Farms. On a solar site just outside the Twin Cities, aspiring farmers are testing adding horticultural vegetation.

Sophia Lenarz-Coy, executive director of The Food Group and Big River Farms, said the pilot initiative can especially help historically disadvantaged farmers.

"Farmers of color, women farmers, folks who have a harder time accessing capital," Lenarz-Coy pointed out. "This is one of the biggest barriers that we see is wanting long-term land access but maybe not having the capital to purchase land."

She added farmers often end up signing leases for property but it makes it harder to grow their operations under short-term contracts. The solar site provides hope in establishing more certainty for producers and the vision they have for their food-growing venture.

Project leaders say another thing they hope to learn is the difference between crops grown underneath and around solar arrays versus crops grown in the open.


get more stories like this via email

more stories
According to data by SCORE, 75% of small business owners donate an average of 6% of their profits to charitable organizations each year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Small Business Saturday has come and gone and the North Carolina Sustainable Business Council urged people to keep "shopping local" this season…


Social Issues

play sound

Gun-safety advocates in New Hampshire are urging Gov. Chris Sununu to back policies proven to reduce gun violence following a series of deadly …

Social Issues

play sound

A new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found the repayment process for federal student loans has been filled with errors…


Minnesota's new paid leave law, scheduled to take effect in 2026, will distribute benefits through a state-operated insurance pool funded by employers and employees. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Minnesota is two years away from enacting its new paid leave law and while the debate over costs has resurfaced, some in the small business community …

Social Issues

play sound

A lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's collective near-total bargaining ban for most public workers is by some seen as a way to bolster the state's beleagu…

The Environmental Protection Agency is working on rules that will incentivize the transition to heavy-duty electric vehicles. (VanderWolf Images/Adobestock)

play sound

As the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai wraps up, Democratic lawmakers and clean-air advocates are calling on the Environmental …

Environment

play sound

NASA-funded research using satellites to study atmospheric nitrogen will examine how different farming approaches affect greenhouse gas emissions…

play sound

The American Gas Association misled the public on the health effects of burning gas for decades. Now, a coalition wants the Washington State …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021