Solar Energy in Agriculture – Resources

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Table of Contents

Websites – Solar Energy in Agriculture

  •, 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.

Understanding Solar Technology

  • Solar Energy Basics. A primer on solar technologies from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

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).

Photovoltaics (PV), Solar Electricity

  • 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).
  • 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

  • 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.

Solar Water Heating

  • Solar Hot Water Introduction. An overview from National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).
  • Solar Water Heaters. Basic information about solar water heating for the home. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Solar Greenhouses

  • 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.

Solar Crop and Grain Drying

Solar Water Pumping

  • 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.

Miscellaneous uses

… and maybe not so agricultural, but information may have adaptation for use on the farm.

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.
  • 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.

Find a Solar System Installer

  • 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.

Financing Your Solar Installation

  • 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 Collectors and Equipment

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 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.

Industry Resources and Data about Solar Energy

  • 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.

Solar Policy

  • 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 Questions – Ask yours

  • 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