Bear Valley Solar will deploy 240 kW of power this year from a 1.5 MW solar paddock located on the ranch, and the first phase of construction will begin this summer, developer David McFeeters-Krone said. pv-lehti USA.
Research from Oregon State University shows that most of the prime, flat land near the net load is already being used for cropland, food or livestock. In many US markets, including the Pacific Northwest, agrivoltaics is a solution to the food and energy transition problem.
Agrivoltaics offers benefits to the farmer or landowner, the project developer and local communities. Livestock farming holds particular promise in the agrivoltaics community. It creates a better soil composition for cows, sheep and other farm animals to graze on while creating a more natural soil around the panels, according to an Oregon State study.
David McFeeters-Krone,aFounder of Rute Foundations and developer of a livestock agrivoltaics project in Eastern Oregon, said pv-lehti USA that his development, Bear Valley Solar Pasture, LLC, is currently working on a fourth-generation ranch in Grant County, Oregon. The project is overseen by Oregon State University’s agrivoltaics program for land use management, water and soil studies on the farm.
Farmer Jack Southworth was approached by a previously undisclosed major solar developer interested in taking over all over the farm, McFeeters-Krone recalls. When cattle income was around $10 per acre, a farmer did not want to exclusively lease an entire ranch, even though solar energy placed on the same area could generate $700 to $1,000 per acre in additional income.
Southworth Brothers Ranch has a total of 650 cows and calves and 600 yearlings, the developer said.
In October 2022, Southworth contacted Serkan Ates, who studies rangeland and pasture management at Oregon State with Chad Higgins, an assistant professor who directs the university’s agrovoltaics program, the developer said. By early 2023, the developer was doing demonstration projects with Oregon State and began working with Southworth on his ranch.
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