SB23-092 expands renewable energy and reduces carbon emissions on Colorado farmland
LONGMONT, CO – Today, Senator Chris Hansen, D-Denver, and Representative Karen McCormick’s, D-Longmont, bipartisan bill to support the use of agrivoltaics through grants from the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) was signed by Governor Jared Polis.
SB23-092, cosponsored by Senator Cleave Simpson, R-Alamosa, and Representative Matt Soper, R-Delta, expands access to agrivoltaics, a cutting edge method to generate energy using solar panels over agricultural land without sacrificing significant agricultural production. The bill also directs the CDA to study greenhouse gas reduction and carbon sequestration opportunities in agriculture.
“Agrivoltaics are an effective way to increase the productivity of our farmland,” said Hansen. “With some crops, shade from solar panels can actually improve growing conditions, save water and increase output. We are helping to expand renewable energy options and carbon capture techniques that can benefit our farming community and help us reach our climate goals.”
"Cleaning up our air takes a multi-pronged approach, and agrivoltaics prioritize clean, renewable energy sources over fossil fuels across Colorado's farmland," said McCormick. "This law expands the use of this cutting edge method to generate energy using solar panels along farmland and saves water in the process. Agrivoltaics provide economic opportunity for agricultural landowners, making it easier for farmland to be kept in the hands of farmers for generations to come. Agriculture is one of the largest industries in the state, and these innovative techniques bring us closer to reaching our climate goals and reducing our carbon footprint."
32 million acres of land are used for agriculture in Colorado, nearly half of the state’s surface area. Methods for carbon reduction on farmland studied by the bill include dry digesters, greenhouse gas credits, and sequestration efforts. Additionally, the bill establishes a tax exemption for certain qualifying machinery or equipment from property tax if the agricultural equipment is part of a solar energy generating system that is used for agrivoltaics or aquavoltaics.