Solar Double Cropping Revisited

Two years ago we embarked on a bold idea.  We wanted to demonstrate how we could make clean  solar electricity and grow sustainable food at the same time.

Rebecca Yan shot this construction photo as part of her UNC photo essay of Pittsboro

On November 4th we are going to cut the ribbon on our “Solar Double Cropping” project in which fifty percent of the light energy which lands on the north field of Piedmont Biofarm is converted into power, and fifty percent is allowed to hit the earth to grow food.

This project is where sustainable agriculture and renewable energy meet.

We have moved the date of our “ribbon cutting” from October 21st to November 4th so that we can repair the soil beneath the array.  One of the lessons learned from this project is that when you build a solar structure over a fecund field (especially when it is raining), you kill the life in the soil.

Compaction is not a friend of the sustainable farmer.  Years of cover cropping and soil amendment can be destroyed with a simple concrete pour in the rain.

We get that.  And so we have moved the ribbon cutting to 4:00 on November 4. There will still be great food, and live music, and the usual conviviality of any Piedmont ribbon cutting.  It will just be delayed a bit so that we can restore health to the soil after our giant construction project.

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One Response to Solar Double Cropping Revisited

  1. Lauren Craig says:

    Hey Lyle,
    I don’t know if you remember me from working at CM coop a few years ago; but, I’m living in Seattle now, writing for this greentech blog. I caught wind of this project (which I think is so awesome) & wrote a little news brief about you guys:
    http://www.earthtechling.com/2011/10/farm-grows-veggies-with-a-side-of-solar-power/
    I only wish I had used the picture you posted! Sounds like everything’s going great down at lorax lane.
    Best,
    Lauren Craig

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