The agricultural sector was an early adopter of off-grid solar photovoltaic (PV) systems as a remote energy source, but declining installation costs and various energy policies are currently making grid-tied systems more enticing for agricultural producers. Solar PV systems are generally compatible with many agricultural operations; either with rooftop installations on top of farm structures, or with open land for ground-mounted systems. Solar electric systems can reduce the volatility of future energy costs, have low maintenance costs, and use a free fuel resource. These attributes are particularly relevant for those farmers with high electricity demands and electric utility rates. Solar PV has many benefits, but investing in a system may not be for everyone. This nine-part series explores some of the various applications and aspects of on-farm solar PV, but should not be considered a complete installation manual. Take some time to learn about solar PV through this educational series to determine if a PV system would be a good fit for your farm and to be confident that your investment is a good one.

2022 Solar Workshops

Are you interested in using solar to power your home, farm or business? If so, you'll want to join an upcoming Solar Training workshop with the University of Maryland Extension. The opportunities and challenges associated with solar photovoltaics (PV) will be explored in each session to help you successfully, and sustainably, implement a solar electric system. Each workshop will include a discussion of: trends in the solar industry, basic principles of solar technology, system sizing and design, and financing and economics.

 

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Solar Workshops

Register for nearest workshop to determine if solar is right for you, as well as how to design and install a system that meets your needs!
 

Solar Market

This introductory module of the Farm Solar program explores the various forms of energy that are available for our use and how solar power fits into the overall mix. Consideration is given to solar technology, research, and policy developments that support new and continued opportunities for on-farm solar in Maryland. Through the course of this module, you will gain a better understanding of the historical development of photovoltaics, the current trends within the photovoltaic sector, and future forecasts for the solar market within Maryland.

Solar Basics

Explore solar photovoltaics and system components.

Electricity & Circuits

Maryland's Solar Industry

Farm Solar Applications

Solar PV Basics

Length: 55:47
Date: October 7, 2020
Dr. Drew Schiavone

Download Slide Deck (pdf)

Solar Planning & Design

Assess energy needs and potential system production.

Determine your Energy Use

Site Assessment

Calculating System Size

Planning & Design

Length: 1:02:50
Date: October 14, 2020
Dr. Drew Schiavone

Download Slide Deck (pdf)

Solar Regulations & Zoning

Explore solar regulations, policies and zoning.

Solar Policy

Solar Permitting

Solar Ordinances

Regulations & Zoning

Length: 47:02
Date: October 21, 2020
Paul Goeringer

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Solar Installation & Maintenance

Explore installation and maintenance operations.

Prioritize Energy Efficiency

Installation Considerations

Operation & Maintenance

Solar Installation

Length: 1:00:29
Date: October 28, 2020
Dr. Drew Schiavone

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Solar Financing

Explore costs and incentives for solar financing.

Production & Costs

Financing & Incentives

Metrics & Models

Solar Financial Options

Length: 57:08
Date: November 4, 2020
Dr. Drew Schiavone

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Shared Solar

Explore community solar and solar co-ops in Maryland.

What is shared solar?

Where is it available?

What are the next steps?

Shared Solar

Length: 57:38
Date: November 11, 2020
Dr. Drew Schiavone

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Utility-Scale Leasing

Explore legal and economic of solar farm leasing.

Land Use

Engineering

Legal Concerns

Utility-Scale Leasing

Length: 51:05
Date: November 18, 2020
Paul Goeringer

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Solar & Battery Storage

Learn how to integrate battery storage options with solar.

Battery Basics

Battery Bank Design

Charge Controllers

Solar Battery Storage

Length: 58:32
Date: December 2, 2020
Dr. Drew Schiavone

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Solar & Battery Storage

Learn how to integrate battery storage options with solar.

Solar Battery Storage

Length: 58:32
Date: December 2, 2020
Dr. Drew Schiavone

Download Slide Deck (pdf)

Solar-Clips Video Series

Tips and tools for working with solar PV on your farm.

Comments & Suggestions

Please provide your comments, suggestions and questions for this monthly video series at the link above.