Let’s Talk Farming and Solar Panels

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A virtual conversation about economically and environmentally viable alternatives to farming land that is also generating clean energy.

Join us on Thursday, June 22 from 12:00-1:00 pm to learn more about Agrivoltaics and how the movement is growing across the country.

We all know how important pollinators are for the survival of plant species and the ecosystems they inhabit. Many large solar installations have made good use of land around the panels to install pollinator gardens, including on the campuses of Denison University and the University of Dayton 

Today, landowners are exploring other opportunities for fields with solar installations. For example, having sheep graze on vegetation growing beneath the panels creates a sustainable livestock operation and reduces the need for more intrusive forms of vegetation management.

And there is even more. Agrivoltaics is the use of land for both agriculture and solar energy generation – a mutually beneficial coexistence. The variety of crops that flourish in the environment under solar panels might be surprising – grapes, strawberries, eggplants, mushrooms, and broccoli, to name a few. The panels shield plants from overheating and protect them from heavy downpours or hail. The shade provided by the panels reduces irrigation-water use and water consumption – a critical factor in an era of increasing drought conditions.

Meet Our Expert Moderator and Panelists

Our moderator, Tony Logan, has had a distinguished career in environmental and agricultural policy making, in addition to farming 850 acres with his brothers in Trumbull County, Ohio. Tony served as USDA’s Ohio Rural Development Director from 2009-2016, managing a $500 MM annual portfolio of loans, grants, and loan guarantees throughout rural Ohio for housing, community facilities, small businesses, and renewable energy. During that time, he was the recipient of GEO’s Public Official of Year award. Prior to USDA, he served as Chief Legal Counsel for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and practiced Agricultural & Natural Resources law in Ohio. Tony has served on the National Farmers Union Policy Board and the Columbus & Franklin County Local Food Board. He currently serves on the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET) for the Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Presently, Tony offers consulting services in Agrivoltaics and Waste-to-Energy Technologies, and promotes the adoption of over-wintering cover crops in Ohio for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Dan French is Founder and Executive Producer of the Solar Farm Summit, North America’s Agrivoltaics Expo, and has produced dozens of dynamic and highly-substantive development events from California to Virginia to New Hampshire and many states in between. Mr. French is also Founder and Principal of dbForesites, a global advisory boutique translating planetary megatrends in economics, energy, and environment into actionable intelligence for funds, family offices, corporations, and governments. Known for his intense candor, cutting insights, sharp analyses and unorthodox strategies, Mr. French is a former corporate attorney with a unique blend of domestic and international perspective as well as deep experience with complex transactions and exotic classes of real estate and risk. Dan and his team help facilitate both ideation and implementation from the strategic level to the tactical; from developing grand strategies and macro frameworks to identifying actionable options and decision-making matrices; and from building broad decision-support programs to specific decision-taking initiatives re individual investments, site selection, real estate development, portfolio de-risking and divestment.

Sarah Moser is Savion’s Director of Farm Operations & Agrivoltaics. Both a farmer and developer, Sarah returned home after serving 6 years in the U.S. Air Force to farm and champion economic development for her rural county in OH. She now leads solar and storage project development in OH, including pioneering creative ways to partner with the local communities. Sarah helped develop and apply for a $1.8M DOE Foundational Agrivoltaic Research for Megawatt Scale grant with The Ohio State University to seek solutions for logistics and operations to unlock the opportunity for agrivoltaics in the U.S.. She has completed the rigorous OH Power Siting Board permit process for projects totaling 640 MW, is working on another 800MW plus 300MW storage project in Ohio and remains a committed steward of progress for her state. Sarah has completed her Executive Certificate for a Doctorate in Strategic Leadership at Liberty University.