Gov. Polis visits Jack's Solar Farm
May 24, 2023
On Thursday, May 18, Governor Jared Polis signed climate legislation into law at Jack's Solar Garden near Niwot. Jack's Solar Garden, located on 95th Street between Niwot and Longmont, serves as a national model for governments, solar developers, and farmers for how to produce renewable energy while continuing agricultural production via agrivoltaics.
In fact, it is the largest commercially active research site for agrivoltaics in the USA. Agrivoltaics is the co-location of agriculture and solar energy infrastructure whereby the microclimates created by the solar panels provide benefits to the vegetation or animals beneath and around them.
In a press release, Gov. Polis said, "The Colorado way of innovation and collaboration drives our nation-leading work in renewable energy, as we continue to explore new technologies and make bold progress towards achieving 100% renewable energy by 2040. I am excited to take this step today to support agrivoltaics as an innovative path forward to support our hardworking farmers while expanding renewable energy sources."
The Governor's office said Polis signed SB23-092 Agricultural Producers Use Of Agrivoltaics, a piece of bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Cleave Simpson (R) and Chris Hansen (D) and Representatives Karen McCormick (D) and Matt Soper (R), to boost Colorado's role as a leader in agrivoltaics and new solar technologies that reduce water consumption on working lands, and allow both solar and agriculture to prosper. This law is also designed to help end the drought that continues to persist in Colorado.
"There's a lot of cattle rangers out here in Colorado and it creates optimal space to add solar arrays," said Byron Kominek, owner and manager of Jack's Solar Garden. "In addition, the animals can use the solar panels as shade for when it gets too hot outside. This will be a great incentive for all ranchers."
If you are interested in learning more about agrivoltaics, Jack's Solar Garden has started a non-profit organization called the Colorado Agrivoltaic Learning Center. The Center encourages sustainability leadership by connecting students, community members, and policymakers to clean energy, local food, and responsible land use management through agrivoltaic tours and events.