Agrivoltaic/Community solar project acts as national model for education & service
Youngstown, OH, March 17, 2021 – Solar FlexRack™, a division of Northern States Metals and an innovative leader in photovoltaic mounting and solar tracker solutions, announced that it has supplied its TDP Turnkey Solar Trackers for Jack’s Solar Garden, a 1.2 MW solar farm project and the largest agrivoltaic research project in the U.S., located in Boulder County, Colorado. The solar installation was designed and built by Namasté Solar, an employee-owned cooperative based in Colorado. Jack’s is a community solar garden that produces enough power for over 300 homes.
Jack’s sits on five acres of farmland for the dual use of agriculture and solar energy production. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Colorado State University, and the University of Arizona, this project will be studying how best to grow wildflowers, pasture and prairie grasses, pollinator habitats, as well as crops, such as carrots, onions, tomatoes and squash that will all be planted this season underneath and around the solar array.
Namasté Solar, a Certified B Corporation that develops, designs, installs, and maintains solar electric systems for homeowners, commercial property owners, and utility-scale developers, selected Solar FlexRack’s TDP Solar Trackers due to their versatility, as well as their smart backtracking, which reduces shading across rows and increases energy production. Solar FlexRack’s adaptable TDP Solar Trackers enabled Namasté Solar to overcome the challenge of installing the trackers at several different heights to test the impact of various amounts of shade and sunlight on crop growth, while still maximizing solar energy yield.
“We selected Solar FlexRack’s robust TDP Solar Trackers due to their efficiency, accuracy and versatility, especially given the complex and varied needs of this project,” said Ryan Turnbull, Senior Commercial Project Manager at Namasté Solar. “It was clear that Solar FlexRack was committed to ensuring the project’s success through their outstanding support services.”
Leveraging their expertise from prior agrivoltaic projects, Namasté Solar knew it was critical to avoid overly compacting the native soil, which could limit the planting of certain species. They overcame this challenge by maintaining strict drive lanes for heavy equipment and not using gravel on-site. “Namasté Solar is a long-time industry leader, particularly in the agrivoltaic space, and we share their dedication to customer satisfaction,” said Steve Daniel, EVP of Sales and Marketing at Solar FlexRack.
This agrivoltaic project has already become a national model of service and education. Along with the partnerships with agrivoltaic research institutions, Jack’s partnered with Audubon Rockies to plant their largest Habitat Hero in Colorado around the perimeter of the solar array – over 1,800 pollinator friendly perennials – in May 2020. They are also partnering with Sprout City Farms, who will manage crop production under the solar array as well as train the first agrivoltaic farmers in Colorado. The farm also donates 2% of its energy production to low-income households in Boulder County and has an Artist on the Farm program to support local creatives. Students and community members have an opportunity to tour Jack’s to learn about agriculture, solar power and land use management through their new non-profit arm, the Colorado Agrivoltaic Learning Center. With Namasté Solar and Solar FlexRack’s help, Jack’s has been able to emphasize the idea of community while also cultivating the next generation of agrivoltaic farmers.
About Solar FlexRack
Solar FlexRack, a division of Northern States Metals, is an integrated solar company that offers custom-designed, fixed tilt ground mount and single-axis solar tracking systems in the commercial and utility-scale solar mounting industries. Solar FlexRack also offers full turnkey packages, including engineering, geotechnical, pullout testing, field, layout, and installation services to address the actual site conditions of an installation and provide a full scope of services from design to delivery and installation. Solar FlexRack has completed over 2.5 GW of solar racking installations in 40 states across America and five countries globally. For more information, go to solarflexrack, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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About Namasté Solar
Founded in 2005, Namasté Solar is an employee-owned Colorado Public Benefit Cooperative and Certified B Corporation that develops, designs, installs, and maintains solar electric systems for homeowners, commercial property owners, and utility-scale developers. Namasté Solar also provides highly specialized solar engineering, design, consulting services, as well as maintenance and operations for solar projects across the United States. The company is on a mission to accelerate the adoption of clean renewable energy and to prove there’s a better way to do business. As a B Corp, Namasté Solar is part of a global movement using business as a force for good to solve social and environmental challenges. The company has installed more than 9,600 clean energy systems that produce over 145 megawatts combined. For more information visit: namastesolar.com.
About Jack’s Solar Garden
Located in Boulder County, Colorado, Jack’s Solar Garden operates the largest agrivoltaic research site in the U.S. At 1.2 MW, Jack’s Solar Garden produces enough power for over 300 homes in the area. This family-owned social enterprise believes in doing more with our land for the benefit of our community. Learn more at www.jackssolargarden.com.