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Low-Impact Solar Development Resources and Publications

The InSPIRE project develops publications, webinars, videos, and other resources about low-impact solar development. This page contains publications and resources developed by the InSPIRE project. Additional resources can be found in the Data Portal.

InSPIRE Publications


Effects of Revegetation on Soil Physical and Chemical Properties in Solar Photovoltaic Infrastructure

Frontiers in Environmental Science (2020)

This study quantifies the extent of agriculture in the United States that could benefit from pollinator habitat being planted at existing or planned solar facilities. Over 3,500 km2 (850,000 acres) of agricultural land were identified that could benefit.

Agrivoltaics provide mutual benefits across the food–energy–water nexus in drylands

Nature Sustainability (2019)

This study takes an integrative approach, monitoring microclimatic conditions, PV panel temperature, soil moisture and irrigation water use, plant ecophysiological function and plant biomass production within an Agrivoltaics installation in Arizona to quantify trade-offs. Shading by the PV panels provides multiple additive and synergistic benefits, including reduced plant drought stress, greater food production and reduced PV panel heat stress.

Techno–ecological synergies of solar energy for global sustainability

Nature Sustainability (2019)

This study proposes techno–ecological synergy (TES), a framework for engineering mutually beneficial relationships between technological and ecological systems, as an approach to augment the sustainability of solar energy across a diverse suite of recipient environments, including land, food, water, and built-up systems.

Potential for Agricultural Benefits from Pollinator Habitat at Solar Facilities in the United States

Environmental Science & Technology (2018)

This study quantifies the extent of agriculture in the United States that could benefit from pollinator habitat being planted at existing or planned solar facilities. Over 3,500 km2 (850,000 acres) of agricultural land were identified that could benefit.

Native Vegetation Performance under a Solar PV Array at the National Wind Technology Center

National Renewable Energy Laboratory Technical Report (2017)

This study evaluates the performance of different native vegetation and treatments underneath a solar installation in Colorado. This study outlines standard methods for evaluating vegetation performance.

Co-location Opportunities for Large Solar Infrastructures and Agriculture in Drylands

Applied Energy (2016)

This study evaluates the economic benefits of solar and agricultural co-location in India.

Overview of Opportunities for Co-Location of Solar Energy Technologies and Vegetation

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (2013)

This study outlines various opportunities for low-impact solar development and co-location.



Webinars & Videos


Pollinators and Solar Agriculture

North Carolina is expected to more than double the amount of installed large-scale solar in the coming years, and similar trends are developing in states throughout the country. To maximize the direct benefits to agriculture, agricultural communities, and important wildlife, many solar developers are moving ahead with plans to install bird and pollinator-friendly native plants at solar sites.

Presenters: Steve Kalland, Greg Andeck

Organization: North Carolina State University, NC Clean Energy Technology Center

Length: 1 hr, 59 mins, 57 secs

Co-Location of Solar and Agriculture Webinar

How solar developers are increasing revenues and community engagement by co-locating solar, pollinators, and agriculture.

Presenters: Jordan Macknick (NREL), Laura Caspari (SoCore Energy), Rob Davis (Fresh Energy)

Organization: Department of Energy

Length: 1 hr, 24 mins, 24 secs

Website: https://fresh-energy.org/nrelwebinar/

Pollinators and Solar Agriculture

How solar developers are increasing revenues and community engagement by co-locating solar, pollinators, and agriculture.

Presenter: Jordan Macknick

Organization: National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Length: 1 min, 42 secs


Press


Scientific American: Solar Farms Produce Power—And Food


PV Magazine. Enel, NREL partner on three-year solar vegetation study


Mankato Free Press: Power Plants and Prairie Plants


Midwest Energy News: Putting the ‘farm’ back in solar farms: Study to test ag potential at PV sites


Enel Green Power: USA: Where Solar Plants Help the Bees


Building Green: Two for One: Growing Food and Solar Energy Together


New Energy Update: Operators eye income gains from wilder vegetation


Solar Power World: Pine Gate Renewables, Old Sol Apiaries create largest solar farm apiary in America