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Sandbox Solar Expands Agrivoltaics Testing Grounds at Colorado State University With Vertical Bifacial Solar


The Bifacial Array

These arrays harvest energy without shading crops during peak growing times.

Sandbox Solar, a leading solar energy developer and Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) company, announces the completion of a groundbreaking solar power project in collaboration with Colorado State University (CSU). The project, located at CSU's Agricultural Research, Development and Education Center (ARDEC) South facility, marks a significant advancement in the research and practical implementation of agrivoltaics.

Through Senate Bill 23-092, the Colorado state legislature appropriated $500,000 to distribute as agrivoltaics grants in Fiscal Year 2023-24 to support Colorado producers and help Colorado’s clean energy transition. This funding has enabled CSU to move forward with its research.

The project, commissioned in June of 2024, features a vertical bifacial agrivoltaic installation poised to explore the intersection of solar energy production and agriculture, furthering sustainability goals and carbon reduction efforts.

"The expansion of the agrivoltaic testing grounds at CSU represents a significant milestone in our mission to advance sustainable energy solutions," said Ian Skor, CEO at Sandbox Solar. "We are proud to partner with CSU and leverage our expertise to drive research and development in the field of agrivoltaics."

The project's unique vertical design presents a novel approach to solar installation, addressing challenges such as land optimization and agricultural compatibility. By integrating wireless soil monitoring probes, the system will gather valuable data on microclimate, energy production potential, and crop impacts, providing insights crucial for adoption by farmers. “Our hope is that this will allow interested parties to evaluate how this configuration of agrivoltaics might work for them,” stated Mark Uchanski of Colorado State University.

Dr. Uchanski further explained the research goals. “We aim to assess the feasibility of integrating vertical bifacial agrivoltaics into an irrigated agricultural system in Colorado, determining the interoperability of the static PV system with large-scale agricultural tillage, planting, and irrigation equipment. Additionally, we will evaluate agronomic crops like field corn and horticultural crops like vegetables growing between the modules and their supportive racking. Another key objective is to quantify the impact of the crop on the electrical output of the vertical bifacial system as the season progresses.”

Sandbox Solar's commitment to innovation and sustainability drove the selection of modules for this project. Greentech Renewables’ and Sunzaun’s contribution of materials and expertise underscores the collaborative nature of this initiative and highlights the potential of integrating solar energy into unique co-located land uses.

"We see tremendous potential for combining agricultural land use with vertical solar installations in the USA. It's crucial to understand how agricultural yield and solar production can best complement each other across different regions. This project is a significant step in that direction, and we are excited to be part of it," said Tim Basulto, Product Manager of Sunzaun.

The Sunzaun vertical racking system boasts a space-saving design that enables energy production in limited areas, making it perfect for agricultural land, urban environments, and regions with restricted land availability. Its vertical orientation not only offers a grid-serving production curve by avoiding the midday peak but also provides additional benefits such as wind protection, integration with livestock, and shade for crops. These features can lead to reduced water consumption and more optimal growing conditions, enhancing the overall efficiency and land-use efficiency.

Due to the unique nature of the project, Sandbox was pleased to find a partner in Greentech Renewables. Greentech Renewables is one of the leaders in innovation among solar distributors. Specializing in the equipment and technical savvy necessary for the CSU project, Greentech Renewables was able to provide top-of-line solar equipment and support ensuring the on-time and on-budget delivery of the array.

“At Greentech Renewables, we are committed to upholding our core values of service, integrity, and reliability to provide unwavering support to our customers. This dedication, along with our team of CSU alumni, motivated our decision to participate in this innovative project,” said the Greentech Renewables team.

Public engagement is a cornerstone of the project, with live field tours and virtual access to the Colorado Agrivoltaics Testing Grounds. Visitors can explore real-time data on electrical output and gain firsthand insights into the benefits of agrivoltaics at https://sandboxsolar.com/csu-agrivoltaics-testing-grounds/.

For more information, visit www.SandboxSolar.com

About Sandbox Solar:

Sandbox Solar is a leading solar energy developer and Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) company based in Fort Collins, Colorado. Sandbox Solar specializes in the design and installation of solar projects across Colorado. 

About Sunstall:

Sunstall Inc. is a Novato, California-based solar energy company dedicated to providing cutting-edge solar installation services for commercial and utility-scale projects. With establishing Sunzaun as the vertical solar system for diverse dual-use applications in the U.S., Sunstall is at the forefront of shaping the future of clean energy. For more information about Sunstall Inc. and its vertical solar system, please visit www.sunzaun.com or reach out to Tim Basulto ([email protected]), Product Manager of Sunzaun.

About Greentech Renewables:

Greentech Renewables strives to be the most trusted distributor in the renewable energy industry, providing customers with the tools, resources, and comprehensive services to design, finance, sell, and install PV and energy storage solutions efficiently and cost-effectively. Our core values of "Service, Integrity, and Reliability" shape our culture in our commitment to cultivating genuine customer relationships. For more information, visit www.greentechrenewables.com.

Contact Information:
Robert Todd
Media Relations
[email protected]
847-346-6994


Original Source: Sandbox Solar Expands Agrivoltaics Testing Grounds at Colorado State University With Vertical Bifacial Solar
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