Thursday, July 25, 2024

Top 5 This Week

Pioneering the Concept of ‘Agrivoltaics’ to Fight Climate Change on a Community Level

Lightstar, in collaboration with the City of Detroit, has officially announced the launch of a new solar energy project, which is designed to showcase the benefits of combining urban agriculture with renewable energy. Named “Locally-Sited Utility-Scale Solar,” the stated project will kickstart what would be a multi-phase push aimed at leveraging solar energy infrastructure and sustainable agricultural development in partnership with Detroit’s vibrant communities. More on the same would reveal how the initiative will effectively empower the local community by preaching the concept of agrivoltaics. Here, potential crops such as lettuce, kale, carrots, and a variety of berries are anticipated to thrive alongside solar panels, and it will do so to reinforce a harmonious balance between energy production and urban farming. To facilitate this particular objective, Lightstar is already seeking urban farming partners that can provide fresh, local, and sustainably farmed produce and livestock products to the people of Detroit. Using this produce, as well as several livestock products, the company will basically form comprehensive Community Benefits packages that will provide energy efficiency upgrades to qualifying homeowners in the neighborhoods directly touched by the project, thus enhancing their life’s quality and cementing a legacy of community-focused progress. Now, when you pair these upgrades with frequent community check-ins to incorporate feedback into the project design, they should be able to deliver a project which is actually complimentary of communities’ needs.

“We are excited to partner with the City of Detroit on this project. The ‘Locally-Sited Utility-Scale Solar’ initiative represents not just a significant leap towards sustainable urban development, but a reimagining of how cities can integrate green technologies with community health and prosperity,” said Tom Brown, COO at Lightstar. “By leveraging the power of solar energy in concert with urban agriculture, we aim to illuminate a promising path forward for Detroit’s communities, supporting the city’s ambitious goals for a renewable future as outlined in the Detroit Climate Strategy.

Another detail worth a mention here is Lightstar’s partnership with JIMA Studio, a partnership which will focus on providing an intuitive community engagement strategy. As for what makes JIMA an ideal partner for such an effort, the answer resides in its ability to provide s a unique approach that centers on the needs and aspirations of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities in Detroit. Hence, with JIMA Studio’s expertise and Lightstar’s resources, the newly-formed partnership can be expected to conceive resilient communities that honor cultural heritage, while simultaneously promoting sustainable development. Markedly enough, this not only refers to an improvement in the quality of life for residents, but it also, more specifically, means opportunities for local businesses and artists to flourish across the commercial frontier.

“This project is not just about generating renewable energy; it’s about cultivating hope, fostering resilience, and sowing the seeds of a sustainable future for all Detroit residents,” said Brianna Fiorillo, Policy & Strategy Manager of Midwest at Lightstar who played a pivotal role in the successful submission of the project RFP with the City. “Through a partnership with American Farmland Trust (AFT) and Michigan State University Agricultural Extension, Lightstar intends to use the data gathered from this project to inform and inspire similar initiatives nationwide, blazing a trail for the integration of agrivoltaics across the country.”

Coming back to the Phase 1 of Lightstar’s new project, it will see the company deliver solar installations to two community-centered sites in State Fair and Gratiot-Findlay, where it will clock combined potential of approximately 10MW of generation capacity. Assuming things remain on track, this innovative fusion of technology and agriculture will also be duly expanded to other areas in the near future.