NYPA Press Release

New York Power Authority and EPRI Complete Study Funded by APPA on Sustainable Land Practices Integrating Agriculture and Solar Energy Systems

For Immediate Release: 02/16/23

Contact: Alex Chiaravalle | alex.chiaravalle@nypa.gov | (518) 860-9935


Study to Inform and Offer Improvements to Agrivoltaics in

New York State and Industry Nationwide


Agrivoltaic System Pictured Here


WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) today announced the release of a new report, Agrivoltaic Leading Practices, that recommends proven and innovative approaches on integrating dual-land use for agriculture and solar energy production. The study determined that a best practice agrivoltaic site ideally involves stakeholder collaboration, community education, policy incentives, site safety practices, and site-individualized crop selection and solar array design.


“With this report, the Power Authority has drafted a blueprint for sustainable land practices to help guide New York to a more resilient, carbon-free future,” said New York Power Authority Acting President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll. “This agrivoltaic study provides significant insights for NYPA and New York State as we collaboratively work to meet our nation-leading climate and clean energy goals.”

Agrivoltaics is the simultaneous use of land for typical agricultural practices and photovoltaic (PV) power generation through the use of solar panels. Agrivoltaic systems are designed so that solar panels allow sufficient light to pass to ground crops while also capturing enough sunlight to generate electricity.


“Farmers have always been first and foremost stewards of the environment, taking great care, consideration, and patience in tending to the land that produces their harvest,” New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “NYPA’s work to research dual-land use for agriculture and solar energy production is an important step toward identifying successful outcomes that will balance our need for renewable energy, while sustaining our agricultural industry.”


In March 2022, NYPA announced receipt of a $102,000 grant to fund the report through the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments (DEED) program. The program funds research, pilot projects and education to improve the operations and services of public power utilities. NYPA collaborated with EPRI, an independent, non-profit energy research and development organization, to conduct research and publish the report.


Researchers who authored the new report examined how native vegetation, pollinators, low maintenance plants, agricultural crops as well as grazing livestock can coexist on the same parcel of land as a solar energy project.


The study determined that leading agrivoltaic practices are those that promote the following:


  • Collaboration between the farmer, solar developer, and the power purchaser early in the site selection process to mitigate concerns and establish protocols for the development and management of the solar site that work for the farmer’s needs.


  • Educational programming that fosters a two-way dialogue between farmers and solar developers to create a mutually beneficial site.


  • State-level incentive policies for co-location that makes site-selection more affordable for developers.


  • The development of solar site safety practices that compliment a partnering farmer’s crop rotation schedule to ensure that they can access the site to tend to their crops or herd.


  • Continued research to identify site-specific crops and array design alterations to accommodate the selected crop where appropriate.


The research initiative is one of the Power Authority’s many innovative projects that support New York’s goal to generate 70 percent of the state’s electricity from renewables by 2030. The commitment includes the installation of 6,000 megawatts of solar power by 2025. New York is on target to meet that goal, and by annually installing more than 400 MW per year since 2018, it reached a combined total capacity of 3.3 GW of solar generation at the end of 2021.


“Understanding the nexus between food and energy through agrivoltaics aligns with EPRI’s efforts to explore sustainable technology solutions that benefit communities and the environment,” said David Porter, Vice President, Electrification and Sustainable Energy Strategy. “We enjoyed working with NYPA to examine strategic projects relevant to New York State and its clean energy goals.”


“This project proves the value of collaboration in research and development and shows how diverse organizations can work together to forge new paths,” said Paul Zummo, Director of Research & Development at the American Public Power Association.


NYPA completed an agrivoltaic system comprised of 250 solar panels at the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill in partnership with the college and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority in 2015. The photo above is a picture of the SUNY Cobleskill system. 


In addition to the Power Authority’s efforts in agrivoltaics, New York State has established the Farmland Protection Working Group (FPWG) and the Agricultural Technical Working Group (A-TWG). The working groups are designed to ensure solar siting that is responsive to the needs of New York's agricultural communities.


The full Agrivoltaic Leading Practices report is available here. A webinar discussion about the report is taking place today and will be available to APPA DEED program members and others via the APPA website.

More information on the Power Authority’s efforts in creating a more sustainable New York State can be found on NYPA’s website.


NYPA is a long-time DEED program partner and received $250,000 to fund two demonstration projects in 2021—one that is analyzing the impact of ice on a hydropower plant and one testing an advanced technology that evaluates the health of high voltage assets in a substation.




New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan

New York State's nation-leading climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues fostering a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economywide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York's unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.8 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 165,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2021 and a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with nearly 400 registered and 100 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the State’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the state to help target air pollution and combat climate change.


About NYPA

NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. For more information visit www.nypa.gov and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn.


About EPRI

Founded in 1972, EPRI is the world's preeminent independent, non-profit energy research and development organization, with offices around the world. EPRI's trusted experts collaborate with more than 450 companies in 45 countries, driving innovation to ensure the public has clean, safe, reliable, affordable, and equitable access to electricity across the globe. Together, we are shaping the future of energy.

About the American Public Power Association
The American Public Power Association is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 49 million people in 2,000 towns and cities nationwide. The Association advocates and advises on electricity policy, technology, trends, training, and operations.