Solar

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In2ition
Posts: 8326
Joined: Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:35 pm

Re: Solar

Post by In2ition »

Should we be worried?
"When we all think alike, nobody is thinking" - Walter Lippmann
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Nodack
Posts: 5630
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:50 pm

Re: Solar

Post by Nodack »

This Colorado 'solar garden' is literally a farm under solar panels
https://www.npr.org/2021/11/14/10549425 ... -farm-land


With close to two billion dollars devoted to renewable power in the newly passed infrastructure bill, the solar industry is poised for a win. But there have long been some tensions between renewable developers and some farmers. According to NREL, upwards of two million acres of American farmland could be converted to solar in the next decade.

But what if it didn't have to be an either or proposition? What if solar panels and farming could literally co-exist, if not even help one another.

That was what piqued Kominek's interest, especially with so many family farms barely hanging on in a world of corporate consolidation and so many older farmers nearing retirement.

Still, when it came time to plant earlier this year, Kominek was initially skeptical.



But he soon discovered that the shade from the towering panels above the soil actually helped the plants thrive. That intermittent shade also meant a lot less evaporation of coveted irrigation water. And in turn the evaporation actually helped keep the sun-baked solar panels cooler, making them more efficient.

By summer, Kominek was a believer.

Kominek's farm, rebranded as Jack's Solar Garden (Jack is his grandfather's name), is part of a burgeoning industry known as agrivoltaics. It's a relatively new field of research and Kominek's farm is one of only about a dozen in the United States known to be experimenting with it.

But agrivoltaics is drawing particular interest in the West, now in the grips of a 22 year megadrought.

Barron-Gafford's research in the Arizona desert showed some crops grown underneath solar panels needed 50% less water. He and other scientists have their eyes on the infrastructure bill and are pushing to get some of the estimated $300 million included in it for new solar projects to go toward agrivoltaics.
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AmareIsGod
Posts: 3547
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:24 pm

Re: Solar

Post by AmareIsGod »

I was thinking about our economy recently and solar / renewables. For renewables, a year with higher inflation is not as big a concern as people would expect; long-term cost declines swamp short-term trends, and the fossil fuel competition jumped much more in price. Solar and wind are declining in cost by 11% and 5% year over year, respectively. That means a year of 5-7% inflation translates to renewable prices staying flat or slightly rising for a year, rather than declining.

Compare that to fossil fuels where prices increased by 50% OR MORE in the last year. In Europe and China there have been disastrous fuel shortages because of market impacts from the pandemic. In Europe's case, this was amplified by Russia using their gas pipelines as geopolitical leverage. There is no long-term cost decline to reduce the impact of these price spikes.

When fuel is expensive, the incentives to switch to cheaper renewables are much stronger. It's all about relative cost, not absolute prices.
What is smallball? I play basketball. I'm not a regular big man. I can switch from the center to the guards. The game is evolving. You got dudes like Joel Embiid, Anthony Davis, all these 7-footers, doing everything. There's no stopping us. - Ayton

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