Agrivoltaics Research with Colorado State University

Food, energy, and water are three resources in high demand by people on our planet. Agrivoltaics is a concept that aims to optimize the production and demand of these precious resources.

In the semi-arid climate of Colorado, Sandbox Solar and Colorado State University collaborate on an agrivoltaics project that researches solutions to food, energy, and water demands. By combining MT Solar Pole Mounts with crops like lettuce and chard they have demonstrated that solar production and food production can be mutually beneficial while lowering water use.

rear of solar pole mount array at farm

In 2017, Ian Skor of Sandbox Solar teamed up with CSU scientists to study plant growth under solar panels in the lab and then in 2018 at CSU’s ARDEC South Research Farm. They tested three types of PV panels with varying transparency while monitoring the plants growing underneath.

In 2019 they were awarded a USDA grant to continue the study of agrivoltaics with semi-transparent technologies. Sandbox solar installed nine MT Solar 4 module pole mounts. The arrays use modules that vary in the amount of sunlight that passes through them.

According to Ian, “The MT Solar pole mounts are very handy. You can build them at hip level, then hoist them up. They have a tilt adjust that allows them to move from 0 to 90 degrees. The array height allowed us to have an operator till the land underneath and the tilt-adjust allows for a tractor to drive past without damaging the panels.”

farmer tilling under pole mounted solar array
Ian Skor presents the project at Colorado Renwable Energy Society

Sandbox Solar

430 N College Ave #435
Fort Collins, CO 80524