University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

Project

Guide to Farming-Friendly Solar

Sheep Grazing Beneath Solar Panels in New Haven Vermont

With the proliferation of solar energy generation throughout Vermont, interest in on-farm solar generation has grown. For many communities, this has raised concerns about loss of valuable farm land and impacts to the visual landscape. Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission worked with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets and the Center's Pasture Program to come up with recommendations for how to balance the needs of community and farm-scale energy needs with a shared commitment to protecting agricultural lands.

The team met with farmers and planners to come up with a plan to guide land use planners, farmers, and agricultural service providers in their planning and decision-making. That guide is now available here as a .pdf download, as a tool so that "local planners can protect primary agricultural soils (often referred to as "prime ag") and the working landscape as a matter of town policy by acknowledging and promoting on-farm solar and active agricultural use on the same land."

Project Team