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Agrivoltaics: Integrating forage production in utility-scale solar farms

To reduce land use impacts of utility-scale solar installations, an Ohio State University  Team (Extension, Ag Engineering, Animal Sciences) has recently completed a 2-year research study demonstrating forage (hay) production in between the rows of a photovoltaic (PV) solar project.  This pilot project has led to additional collaborations and funding from U.S. Department of Energy Foundational Agrivoltaic Research for Megawatt Scale (FARMS) program to expand the research into a 120-acre research zone within a 1,000-acre utility-scale solar farm. 

During the four-year study, the team will investigate four priority areas including: best management practices for establishing forages, integrating complimentary grazing strategies, maximizing soil health using remediation techniques, and utilizing precision agriculture technologies and equipment to minimize error and risk.  This will be accomplished by collecting forage quality samples, tracking dry matter yield data, collecting soil compaction metrics, conducting precision agriculture equipment efficiency trials, and observing animal behavior, growth, and health.  Research findings will be analyzed and summarized to identify best management practices and results disseminated to government representatives, stakeholders, solar developers, forage and livestock producers, and equipment manufacturers.



 

Utility-Scale Solar Hay Production: Technical Reports