SETO FY23 Dual Use PV

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Athens, OH — June 17, 2024 — Appalachian Renewable Power (ARP Solar) is proud to announce that it has been selected to receive a $1.6 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO). This funding, provided through the Silicon Solar Manufacturing and Dual-use Photovoltaics Incubator program, underscores our commitment to advancing solar technology, bolstering American manufacturing, and supporting the Appalachian region.

The project, titled “Diversifying on Farm Income in Appalachia: Quantifying the Integration of Beef Cattle Grazing and Photovoltaics,” will contribute to research on solar integration in agricultural settings. Led by ARP Solar founder and Principal Investigator Gary Easton with support from West Virginia University and Community Renewable Energy (CRE), this initiative will investigate the viability of installing and managing solar PV infrastructure within grasslands used for grazing beef cattle. By assessing the impact of specialized PV products on soil health, forage growth, and beef cattle performance, the project seeks to empower rural producers across Appalachia to diversify farm income through sustainable energy solutions.

“We are grateful to receive this award from DOE SETO, as it helps to validate our commitment, not only to pushing the boundaries of solar innovation but to the agricultural industry within the Appalachian region,” said Easton. “This project will focus on real-world challenges facing agricultural communities and will illustrate the massive economic and environmental advantages solar presents for farmers. We are excited about the potential impact this project will have on promoting sustainability and economic growth in the region.”

The funding provided by DOE SETO will enable ARP Solar to conduct research and development that will help pave the way to the widespread adoption of dual-use PV technologies by illustrating the positive impacts PV infrastructure has on bolstering soil health, enhancing forage growth, optimizing cattle production, and delivering economic gains to farmers. The project will also explore the use of module racking that uses alternative recycled materials. By harnessing solar energy in conjunction with agricultural practices, this project aligns with SETO’s goals of promoting a decarbonized electricity system and facilitating the integration of solar electricity into the nation’s energy grid.

“I think the most important aspect of our proposed work with ARP Solar is to begin to generate solid data about animal performance when grazing around solar infrastructure,” said Matthew Wilson, Professor of Agriculture and Food at West Virginia University. “There is a real need for the development of best management practices and real world data for lenders and policy makers to understand how best to encourage more co-location of solar in active grazing lands.”

ARP Solar extends its gratitude to the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office for their support and recognition. We look forward to collaborating with stakeholders and partners to drive positive change and create a brighter, more sustainable future for all.

This research supports a larger trend of increased access and support for agricultural producers transitioning to solar energy. With national funding like the USDA REAP grant offering up to 50% off the cost of a system as well as the 30% Solar Tax Credit, there has never been a better time for farmers to make the switch to solar. Whether a rooftop installation, ground-mounted system or the dual-use options being researched, solar offers farmers a powerful tool to enhance their operations and ensure long-term sustainability.

About ARP Solar
ARP Solar is an independently owned and operated installer of solar power systems and storage solutions located in Southeastern Ohio. We have been proudly serving Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky communities since 2008. At ARP Solar, we’re not just about solar panels; we’re also about empowering our communities with reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy solutions.

About the Solar Energy Technologies Office
The U.S. The Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office supports research, development, demonstration, and technical assistance to improve the affordability, reliability, and domestic benefit of solar technologies to support an equitable transition to a decarbonized energy sector. Learn more at energy.gov/solar-office

John McNamara

Appalachian Renewable Power (ARP Solar)

+1 740-498-0498

Email: john.mcnamara@arp-solar