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Table of Contents
- Websites – Solar Energy in Agriculture
- Understanding Solar Technology
- Agricultural Applications of Solar
- Solar Installation Considerations
- Government and Association Solar Sites
- Industry Resources and Data about Solar Energy
- Solar Policy
- Solar Questions – Ask yours
Websites – Solar Energy in Agriculture
- ATTRA: Solar Energy and Directory of Energy Alternatives by state. ATTRA is the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and is funded under a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
- DOE: Solar Energy Applications for Farms and Ranches. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), provides information on space and water heating, greenhouse heating, electricity, crop and grain drying.
- NREL: Renewable Energy for Farmers and Ranchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) hosts webpages for Photovoltaic Systems (PV) and Solar Hot Water.
- FarmEnergy.org, sponsored by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) provides information on the Energy Title programs of the Federal Farm Bill and energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities that benefit farmers, ranchers and rural communities. It hosts a “Clean Energy Guide” to Solar.
- Up with the Sun: Solar Energy and Agriculture is a dedicated solar energy and agriculture webpage hosted by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
- Focus on Energy: Renewables. Solar and Wind Resources assembled for Wisconsin, but many are applicable to other areas.
Understanding Solar Technology
- Solar Energy Basics. A primer on solar technologies from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
- Solar Energy Technologies Program. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
- Renewable Energy Technology Characterizations: Overview of Solar Thermal Technologies provides information about parabolic troughs, power towers and dish/engine systems. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Planning, Budget, and Analysis (PBA).
Agricultural Applications of Solar
- Agricultural Applications of Solar Energy. This EREC Brief summarizes agricultural uses of solar power, including crop drying, space/water heating, greenhouse heating, electric production and water pumping. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
- Solar Energy Applications for Farms and Ranches including space and water heating, greenhouse heating, electricity, crop and grain drying. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
- An Introduction to Solar Energy Applications for Agriculture. This (6 page, 1 MB PDF) publication includes information on space and water heating, greenhouse heating and solar electric (photovoltaic) systems. NYSERDA, New York State Energy Research And Development Authority.
Photovoltaics (PV), Solar Electricity
- Solar Photovoltaic Technology. An overview from National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).
- A Consumer’s Guide: Get Your Power from the Sun. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
- Small Solar Electric Systems. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) includes information on:
- Photovoltaics for Farms and Ranches. Information, resources and guides on small PV systems for farms and ranches, tools to estimate local solar resources, and guides to buying and installing a system. National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).
- Electricity when and where you need it: From the Sun. Publication on Photovoltaics for Farms and Ranches, with sections on pumping water, power for buildings, around the ranch, and working with the sun. (28 page, 6 MB PDF). National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
- Toolbox: Photovoltaics. This toolbox set includes info on interconnection process, electrical codes, funding opportunities, fact sheets, economics. RENEW Wisconsin, produced/assembled by Niels Wolter of Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation (WECC) and WisconSUN.
- Passive Solar Introduction. An overview from National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).
- Passive Solar Design provides definition, considerations, commercial status, implementation issues and guidelines. From Sustainable Sources, who provide information and services related to Green Building.
- Passive Solar Home Design. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Solar Water Heating
- Solar Hot Water Introduction. An overview from National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).
- Solar Hot Water System Types Typical methods of heating household water by means of the sun are discussed and diagrammed, including pumped (both direct and indirect), thermosiphon and integral collector storage. Florida Solar Energy Center.
- A Consumer’s Guide: Heat Your Water with the Sun. (20 page, 603 KB PDF) U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
- Solar Water Heaters. Basic information about solar water heating for the home. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
- Solar Greenhouses discusses and diagrams basic principles of solar greenhouse design, as well as different construction material options. Provides detailed resources and references. ATTRA, National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.
- Greenhouses and Season Extenders has information for growers that makes the most of solar radiation. University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
Solar Crop and Grain Drying
- Low-Temperature and Solar Grain Drying Handbook. 86 pages, available for $5 from Iowa State University.
- Solar Heat for Grain Drying -Selection, Performance, Management. Purdue University Cooperative Extension.
Solar Water Pumping
- Solar Powered Livestock Watering Systems. 14 Page guide includes: how a system works and configurations; selecting, installing and maintaining a system. University of Tennessee, Agricultural Extension Service, PB 1640.
- Solar Powered Livestock Watering Systems Introduction to solar-powered livestock watering systems, including discussions of cost, components, and terminology, as well as suggestions for designing and installing these systems. ATTRA.
- Guide to Solar Powered Water Pumping Systems in New York State. (29 page, 1.5 MB PDF). New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA).
- Phase one of solar pump project well underway. University of Wyoming.
- Is solar energy a cost-effective alternative energy source for pumping water in rural areas? 1993 Case Studies in Wyoming.
- Solar-powered Groundwater Pumping Systems. Colorado State University Extension.
- A New Method for Optimal Selection of Solar Pumping Systems based on measured data and computational models of world climate, pump, motor and solar array performance. Kyocera Solar Inc.
- Renewable Energy and Manure Management Research Publications. Directory includes a number of publications on solar energy and water pumping. Compiled by Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA.
… and maybe not so agricultural, but information may have adaptation for use on the farm.
- Consumer’s Guide: Solar Swimming Pool Heaters. Basic information about using solar energy for pool heating. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Solar Installation Considerations
Planning, Site and Solar Resource Potential
- Build It Solar offers free plans, tools and information for renewable energy and conservation projects for Do-It-Yourselfers.
- National Solar Radiation Database (NSRDB) provides hourly solar radiation and meteorological data for U.S. sites for 1961–2005.
- RETScreen Clean Energy Project Analysis Software is a free decision support tool that can be used worldwide to evaluate the energy production and savings, costs, emission reductions, financial viability and risk for various types of Renewable-energy and Energy-efficient Technologies (RETs). Natural Resources Canada.
- The Renewable Potential Map series presents an integrated picture of solar and other renewable energy resources in each U.S. Census Division. Sources of energy data are provided. U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)
- In My Backyard (IMBY) tool estimates solar photovoltaic (PV) array electricity production based on your specifications of system size, location, and other variables. IMBY uses a Google Maps interface. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
- NREL’s PVWattsTM calculator determines the energy production and cost savings of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) energy systems throughout the world. It allows the user to easily produce estimates of the performance of hypothetical PV installations.
- Electrical Load Analysis Worksheet. Colorado State University Extension.
Find a Solar System Installer
- Find a Solar Installer near you. Site includes a checklist to determine if your installer’s proposal is complete. solar-estimate.org.
- Find Solar is a resource for finding an installer near you. Partnership between the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and Cooler Planet, supported by the U.S. Dept. of Energy.
- Find Certified Installers. Search engine hosted by NABCEP, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.
Financing Your Solar Installation
- Borrower’s Guide to Financing Solar Energy Systems. (44 page, .5MB PDF) U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
- Solar Estimator estimates the price, savings, and size of a solar power system based on location and specifications. Technology options include solar electric (PV), solar water heating, and space heating & cooling. solar-estimate.org.
- Clean Power Estimator calculates the potential costs and benefits of installing a PV system. Go Solar California, California Energy Commission.
Solar Leasing for Colorado Homes. Colorado State University Extension.
Solar Collectors and Equipment
- Solar Rating and Certification Corporation provides information about ratings, certification, and labeling for solar collectors and for complete solar water heating systems.
- Solar panel price survey is current and includes source, brand, and watts. EcoBusinessLinks Green Directory.
Government and Association Solar Sites
- DSIRE. State-by-state listing sponsored by DSIRE of state, local, utility, and federal incentives, tax credits, local audits, net metering regulations, and available rebates that promote renewable energy. Database of State Incentives for Renewable and Energy (DSIRE) is an ongoing project of the N.C. Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Solar Energy Technologies Program, U.S. Dept. of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.
- U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) provides Independent Statistics & Analysis by Sources & Uses, Topics and Geography.
- NREL Solar Research. National Renewable Energy Lab.
- Florida Solar Energy Center provides research, testing & certification and provides educational programs.
- Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is the national trade association of solar energy industry. Site includes information about solar energy, policies, state issues, news, research, technology & products, events and education.
- American Solar Energy Society (ASES), an association of solar professionals and advocates, is the U.S. section of the International Solar Energy Society. They publish Solar Today magazine, present the ASES National Solar Conference and organize the National Solar Tour.
- Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) is a trade group representing utilities in the solar energy arena.
Industry Resources and Data about Solar Energy
- US Solar Industry Data Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
- solarbuzz.com. Solar energy news developments worldwide, including current prices, supply and demand, ongoing projects, and news articles. The site also offers industry statistics and advice on purchasing solar energy systems.
- DSIRE Solar Policy Guidedescribes policy options adopted by state and local governments to encourage solar deployment, discusses status and trends of individual policies, provides examples of specific programs, and links to additional sources of information.
- Solar Powering Your Community: A Guide for Local Governments. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) developed this comprehensive resource to assist local governments and stakeholders in building sustainable local solar markets.
Solar Questions – Ask yours
- Ask a Sustainable Agriculture Expert at ATTRA.
- EERE Information Center – American consumers can ask questions about products and services from the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
Contributors to this Document
- Irene Xiarchos, U.S. Department of Agriculture