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Thu, Feb

Siting Solar, Sparing Prime Agricultural Lands

Typography

Unconventional spaces could be put to use generating renewable energy while sparing lands that could be better used to grow food, sequester carbon and protect wildlife and watersheds, says a study led by the University of California, Davis.

Unconventional spaces could be put to use generating renewable energy while sparing lands that could be better used to grow food, sequester carbon and protect wildlife and watersheds, says a study led by the University of California, Davis.

These land-sparing spaces include: 1) built environments, such as rooftops 2) salt-affected land 3) contaminated land, and 4) water reservoirs with floating solar arrays, or “floatovoltaics.”  

The study, published today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, notes that unique technical, economic and institutional barriers exist for each land type. But with more incentives that encourage renewable energy development on these lands, they could more than meet state energy demands.

Could exceed energy demand

The study focuses on the Central Valley, a globally significant agricultural region encompassing about 15 percent of California. The research found that using these land-sparing site types in the Central Valley alone could exceed the state’s projected 2025 electricity demands up to 13 times for photovoltaics and up to two times for concentrated solar power.

Continue reading at University of California – Davis

Photo: Professor Rebecca R. Hernandez and Sadie Olsen, a student intern in her lab, set up an experiment at a solar farm. CREDIT: Andrea Martinez / UC Davis