RIPE supports expanding clean energy opportunities for farmers and mitigating the tension sometimes created by installing it on productive agricultural lands. Specifically, we support:
Incentivizing siting renewable energy projects on unproductive farmland.
Incentivizing and increasing R&D for dual-use agrivoltaics plan that allow for solar alongside farming, if placed on productive or unique farmland.
Expanding USDA REAP benefits to farmer-led cooperatives to allow for shared resource pooling and benefits.
Requiring developers who lease solar arrays on farmland to decommission them in a manner that protects the land for active agriculture future use.
The RIPE program would not initially include direct compensation for clean energy, in part because of the high cost of installation and other policies, and market mechanisms are more appropriate for rewarding it fairly. Future phases of the RIPE program could include consideration of direct compensation for clean energy, which delivers in the range of $5,000 to $18,000 per acre in public environmental benefits, after careful analysis of how to protect productive agricultural lands and farmers’ economic opportunities, as well as best use of various programs and market mechanisms.