Colorado Provides Funding for Agrivoltaics Grants - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  December 21, 2023

Colorado Provides Funding for Agrivoltaics Grants

Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) Commissioner Kate Greenberg awarded $500,000 in grants to seven projects that demonstrate the use and benefits of agrivoltaics, which is the simultaneous use of land for solar energy production and agriculture. 

These grants will provide funding to incorporate innovative technology that supports producers in Colorado. 

“Colorado’s agriculture industry puts food on tables and helps drive our strong state economy. Agrivoltaics shows us how science and innovation can help Colorado’s bedrock industries take advantage of solar power and will help our hardworking farmers and ranchers get ahead,” said Governor Polis in a statement.

These grants, funded through the bipartisan SB23-092, Agricultural Producers Use of Agrivoltaics, and from the Governor’s 2024 budget proposal provide support for producers to utilize agrivoltaics and other renewable energy projects. 

The projects include the following:

  • Namaste Solar (Weld County) will test converting a conventional solar array into an agrivoltaics system that supports grazing and growing crops;
  • Colorado State University (Fort Collins) will study the economic tradeoffs of agrivoltaics versus traditional cropping systems and conventional solar arrays;
  • American Farmland Trust (Statewide) will conduct a strategic outreach project to Colorado producers exploring benefits and obstacles to advancing agrivoltaics in the state;
  • Colorado Cattleman’s Agricultural Land Trust (Statewide) will research current barriers to incorporating agrivoltaics into conservation easements, and propose template language that could allow agrivoltaic development;
  • Sandbox Solar (Fort Collins) will install new bifacial vertical panels on an existing demonstration site;
  • Summit Cellars (Palisade) will compare soil moisture data under agrivoltaic panels and in a traditional vineyard; and
  • Longboard Power (Haxtun) will test an agrivoltaic “shelterbelt” on the edge-of-farm, and capture soil, water, and energy production benefits. 

During the fall, Polis submitted his budget proposal to the General Assembly, which included $900,000 to support renewable energy solutions in agriculture. In December, he unveiled a Climate Preparedness Roadmap, which outlines state actions to better prepare the state - including supporting agricultural producers - for the impacts of climate change. 

By growing food, fiber, and fuel, and developing energy on the same parcel of land, Colorado can meet renewable energy goals while fostering a resilient agricultural system. Through a comprehensive approach that includes technical assistance, grant funding, marketing assistance, advocacy, and partnerships, the state can maintain agricultural production while ensuring the sustainable use of water and soil resources. 

Keywords: Colorado

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