Can food production occur in concert with solar power generation? Recent advancements and interest in solar-generated power have some asking “will large solar panel projects decrease available land for crop production?” Some of these proposed solar farms can cover 80 acres and more and as power needs continue to grow, tens of thousands of currently cropped acres could be taken out of production.
This question of producing both food and electrical power is currently being addressed by Colorado State University (CSU) researchers. Drs. Jennifer Bousselot and Mark Uchanski, CSU researchers located in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture are currently leading a group of CSU Extension researchers and interns investigating agricultural production underneath solar panels. Dr. Bousselot’s specialty is rooftop Agrivoltaics and Dr. Uchanksi’s specialty is vegetable Agrivoltaics in field applications.
The research team consists of Horticulturalists and Agronomists working to address cropping questions. In today’s Ag Queen Podcast, Host, Lorrie Boyer and Dr. Bousselot talk in detail of the research being done in Colorado including the research fundamentals, the crop research being done in tandem with solar arrays, and why thought leaders and developers need to think in terms of multi-functional land projects into the future.