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  • Writer's picturePaige Lundry

Prairie Birthday Farm Agrivoltaic System Coming Soon!

Prairie Birthday Farm, owned by Linda Hezel and located in Kansas City, MO has the potential to greatly benefit from an agrivoltaic installation.

The concept of agrivoltaics, also known as "dual-use" systems, involves the integration of solar panels with agriculture, allowing for the simultaneous production of crops and solar energy. This innovative solution could help the farm reduce its energy costs while increasing its crop yields and improving soil health.

By combining solar panels with agriculture, agrivoltaic systems offer numerous benefits over traditional solar installations. In addition to generating electricity, the shade provided by the panels can help reduce evaporation, maintain soil moisture levels, and improve plant growth. This can result in higher crop yields, while also reducing the need for water and other resources.

At Prairie Birthday Farm, an agrivoltaic system could be implemented in several ways. For example, solar panels could be installed on raised structures above crops, providing shade and generating electricity. Alternatively, panels could be mounted on the roofs of existing farm buildings, such as barns or storage sheds. This system will have the solar array mounted on an elevated ground mount system.

In addition to the benefits of traditional agrivoltaic systems, a dual-use system could also offer unique advantages for Prairie Birthday Farm. For example, the farm could use the shaded areas beneath the panels to grow shade-tolerant crops, such as lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens. This would allow the farm to diversify its crops while also increasing its revenue streams.

Furthermore, an agrivoltaic installation could also help the farm reduce its environmental impact. By generating their electricity, the farm could reduce their reliance on traditional energy sources, such as fossil fuels. This would not only lower their energy bills, but it would also decrease their carbon footprint and help to mitigate the effects of climate change.

There are several factors to consider when designing an agrivoltaic system for Prairie Birthday Farm. The size of the solar array and the spacing of the panels would depend on the farm's energy usage and available land. The orientation and tilt of the panels would also need to be optimized for maximum energy production and crop yield.

Fortunately, there are several incentives available to help offset the cost of an agrivoltaic installation. The federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) offers a tax credit of up to 30% of the cost of the solar installation, and the USDA REAP Grant awards up to 40% of the cost of solar installation which can significantly reduce the upfront cost of the project. In addition, many states offer additional incentives, such as rebates or performance-based incentives, to further encourage the adoption of solar energy.

In conclusion, Prairie Birthday Farm has the potential to greatly benefit from an agrivoltaic installation. By integrating solar panels with agriculture, the farm could reduce its energy costs while increasing crop yields and improving soil health. With the availability of incentives and the unique opportunities provided by a dual-use system, an agrivoltaic installation could be a valuable addition to the farm's operations. Contact us if you have interest in taking on an agrivoltaic project!

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