Since 2014, The Alliance and the Oregon Community Foundation have partnered to fund projects in Oregon that actively engage Alliance institution faculty and undergraduate students with a business/industry partner in research focused on conservation. These opportunities have been made available through a grant to The Alliance from the Katherine Bisbee II Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation. Up to two $10,000 grants are awarded each year.
The Alliance is pleased to announce that one Katherine Bisbee II Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation grant of $10,000 has been awarded to George Fox University for 2020-2021. The funded project is entitled “Residential Agrivoltaics: Energy Efficiency and Water Conservation in the Urban Landscape.” George Fox faculty and students will partner with Advanced Energy Systems in Eugene to complete the project.
Agrivoltaics is the co-locating of agriculture and solar photovoltaic (solar PV) panels. The practice involves mounting solar PV panels 6-10 feet off the ground and growing plants (whether they be crops or pasture for animal grazing) below them. While mounting solar PV panels on residential rooftops has become increasingly common in recent years, little is known about the use of agrivoltaics residentially (e.g. placing solar PV panels above landscaping and garden areas on residential properties).
The George Fox University and Advanced Energy Systems project seeks to better understand and quantify the benefits to both water conservation and energy production of residential agrivoltaics. The differences in water use, plant growth, power use, panel efficiencies, and panel operation across five “test plots” (see below) will be assessed.
Congratulations to the George Fox University faculty, students, and partners who will participate in this research project!