Ag & Markets lays out draft solar strategies


New York State Ag & Markets has released a draft report outlining strategies for partnering renewable energy and farming.
The interim report from the State’s Farmland Protection Working Group calls for more research and potential financial incentives and proposes tools for state and local governments.
A final report expanding the strategies and exploring their impact on siting renewable energy and agriculture is expected to be released late this year.
Released last Wednesday, the interim report details preliminary strategies, including:
• Further research related to “dual-use or co-utilization” of agricultural production and utility-scale renewable energy projects, including the expanded use of innovative “agrivoltaics” in project design.
• Initiating a study assessing all economic pressures impacting New York’s agricultural economy and land use to look at the potential benefits and burdens of renewable energy development and non-solar land-use conversions related to New York’s agricultural industry.
• Encouraging environmental, habitat, and ecosystem services studies of operating solar projects, with a focus on grassland bird and threatened and endangered species benefits and impacts.
• Incentivizing developers and landowners to continue to utilize land for farming within the project site, co-existing with solar projects.
• Exploring options on how best to disburse Agricultural Mitigation Payments to assist local agriculture-supporting efforts.
• Creating a state-level working lands management plan.
• Updating local farmland protection plans to reflect siting of renewable energy facilities.
• Updating NYSERDA’s model solar energy local law to enhance treatment of and provide options to address agricultural issues.
• Creating a plan to more comprehensively pre-screen sites for the presence of natural resources.
The Interim Report can be found online at