One of the great things about writing for Civil Eats is that I get to explore several existential concerns at once. For my second piece, I was lucky enough to analyze and evangelize solarization, decarbonization and agricultural infrastructure with a future.
Solar Farming Brings Benefits—and Concerns—to the Land
By now, most Americans have heard of solar farms. But how about solar farmers?
A quarter of California farms, nearly 2,000 altogether, are generating onsite solar energy, making it far and away the national leader, according to a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) outlining the use of solar on farms. Hawaii, Colorado, and Texas count over 500 farms producing solar power, while Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, Arizona, and Montana have over 200 each.
But how farmers are solarizing that land has become a point of contention. While some have chosen to install solar panels, pumps, coolers, heaters, and more to decarbonize their farm operations and downsize costs, others—sometimes controversially—have stopped planting crops altogether in favor of solar farms.
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