New SUNRAY Act seeks balance between ag & solar

A new bill introduced into Congress aims to find a balance between the solar industry and production agriculture. 

Congressman Eric Sorenson of Illinois says the Securing and Understanding Our National Renewable Agriculture Yields for Energy, or SUNRAY, Act calls on USDA to identify and make publicly available the best practices for implementing solar on agricultural land while also preserving crop production…

“What we need to be able to do is protect that fertile land, yet we don’t want to say no to solar.”  He says, “We just need to make sure that our farmers know the data of where it makes sense.”

He tells Brownfield the bill promotes the practice of agrivoltaics, or farming between the panels…

“We need to be able to find the happy medium, making sure that we can deploy solar energy while farmers are being able to use the land for agriculture production,” he says, “also, understanding that there is such a demand for homegrown energy.”

Rep. Sorenson, who sits on the House Ag Committee, wants the bill included in any farm bill legislation that moves in Congress. 

The proposal has received the support of organizations such as American Farmland Trust and the American Solar Grazing Association.

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree of Maine and Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett of Texas co-sponsored the legislation.

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