Pioneering “Agrivoltaics” Agricultural Management Plan Includes Details of Organic, Regenerative, and Profitable Production of Honey, Eggs, and Other Specialty Products at an Operating Solar Farm
Intersect Power, developer of the Aramis Solar Generation and Storage project in unincorporated Alameda County, today submitted a detailed Agricultural Management Plan, in compliance with commitments made in its application to prepare such a plan. The Agricultural Management Plan, the first of its kind, includes details on how profitable, regenerative agricultural practices will be integrated into an operating solar facility on an ongoing basis. The Plan calls for local honey production at an on-site apiary, where honeybees would benefit from the pollen-rich and diverse native plantings that would be grown beneath and between the solar arrays. Additionally, egg-laying hens will be allowed to graze the aisles within solar panel arrays in specially designed “poultry tractors,” free-range chicken coops on wheels designed and built specifically to fit between the solar panels without having impacts on solar generation or system operation.
“Agrivoltaics combines photovoltaic solar generation with productive agricultural practices. We are proud to unveil the details of the agrivoltaics plan for the Aramis Renewable Energy Project, which will support and enhance local agriculture in the North Livermore Valley,” said Marisa Mitchell, principal and head of environmental and permitting for the Aramis Renewable Energy Project. “We are especially pleased that the Aramis project’s solar-integrated honey and poultry production will provide opportunities for participants of Alameda County’s ALL IN Circular Food Economy initiative, a program that aims to alleviate poverty through local farming.”
The Agricultural Management Plan makes clear that the specialty agricultural activities fit precisely into the parameters already evaluated in detail in the project’s Environmental Impact Report. The Plan highlights that the development of the green energy portion of the project, namely the shading created by the solar panels and the pollen-rich vegetation to be installed beneath the solar arrays, make possible the production and profitability of these agricultural products for the farm operators that will work the site.
“Creating these high-value organic, free-range products is only possible by virtue of this solar facility development, and I’m thrilled that the Aramis project will provide a proof-of-concept for agrivoltaics in North Livermore, and across the country” said Larry Gosselin, DVM, a North Livermore rancher-conservationist.
Intersect Power and the Aramis project continue to raise the bar for solar energy development practices by incorporating on-site habitat improvement, off-site habitat protection, agrivoltaics practices, protection of viewsheds, local living-wage employment, local procurement, and recreational and educational opportunities, all while helping the Bay Area, California, and the world in combatting the climate crisis.