GRAND RAPIDS—The Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is hosting a webinar to introduce the state to agrovoltaics, the planting of food crops, pollinator habitats, and other vegetation underneath photovoltaic solar panels.
The free event will run from 10 to 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 10.
Featured speaker is Byron Kominek, founder of the Colorado Agrivoltaic Learning Center and owner and manager of Jack’s Solar Garden, the largest commercially active agrivoltaics system in the United States.
Historically a 24-acre family farm producing hay, wheat, and dairy cattle, the farm has evolved into a partnership between the Kominek family and the U.S. Department of Energy’s InSPIRE project, collaborating with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Colorado State University and University of Arizona. It was most recently an alfalfa field, but now produces 8,000 pounds of produce beneath 3,200 solar panels on eight-foot mounts.
The project is demonstrating that agrivoltaics are not only commercially feasible, but require less irrigation than comparable farms, while preserving historic farmland, at scales more appropriate for private sector or community energy than other options, such as wind turbines.
The Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is sponsored by Schupan, the Wixom-based metal and plastics sales and recycling firm.
More about the Forum at https://wmsbf.org/. Registration is available at https://wmsbf.org/blog/wmsbf_events/agrivoltaics-future-of-farming-and-renewable-energy-combined/.