Sep 23, 2019

American farmers are pivoting to solar power to pay the bills

Solar panels near a dairy farm in Vermont. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

U.S. farmers are increasingly installing solar panels to help make ends meet, writes the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The effects of the U.S.-China trade war and record spring rainfalls across the center of the country left many farmers unable to fully plant their crops, requiring them to find new sources of income.

How it works: Farmers lease land to energy companies to generate solar power — or install their own solar panels to cut their electricity bills.

  • Both methods can net more than $1,000 a month, according to farmers and renewable-energy advocates.
  • This is especially lucrative in states with competitive power-generation sectors because companies will compete for leases.

Yes, but: Some farmers are hesitant to lease to power companies for years at a time because they could make more money planting if crop prices rebound.

Go deeper: As wind and solar energy grow, so do their challenges

Go deeper

How I am trying to get greener and cheaper electricity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A growing chorus of companies mostly unknown to the wider public is seeking to convince people you don’t need solar panels on your roof to go green.

The intrigue: Instead of writing about this from afar, I’m experiencing it firsthand and sharing my experience. I have signed up with Arcadia Power, a DC-based startup founded in 2014 that’s leading this sector with a digital focus.

Go deeperArrowOct 7, 2019

Early blizzard demolishes harvests already threatened by spring floods

After delaying planting in spring due to widespread floods throughout the Midwest, farmers are now hoping to recover from yet another obstacle: an early blizzard, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: Historic flooding in the spring led farmers to delay plantings due to drenched fields. An uncharacteristically early blizzard in northern states in recent days has only amplified the race to harvest, with farmers scrambling to pull their crops before they freeze.

Go deeperArrowOct 14, 2019

The amount of voluntary renewable energy purchases keeps rising

The amount of renewable electricity being bought voluntarily has increased nearly 300% since 2010, according to new data from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Go deeperArrowOct 7, 2019