Site preparation costs for utility-scale solar projects are expected to account for 20 percent of utility-scale photovoltaics installed costs in 2020. In 2016 the National Renewable Energy Lab began studying low-impact solar development approaches that have the potential to:
Provide significant co-benefits to agriculture
Reduce development costs and environmental impact
In a Department of Energy-sponsored webinar, National Renewable Energy Lab’s Jordan Macknick, SoCore Energy’s Laura Caspari, and Fresh Energy’s Rob Davis presented an update on research and work related to co-location of agriculture and solar. Download PDF of slides. Led by Macknick, National Renewable Energy Lab’s InSPIRE project will comprehensively assess baseline costs, as well as strategies for cost reduction and for environmental impact reduction. Davis reviewed the agricultural benefits of pollinator habitat—a low-growing meadow mix of grasses and flowers.