For centuries North Carolina farmers have made a major contribution to the state’s economy by working the land and providing billions of pounds of agricultural and forestry products to meet demands for food and fiber. This resource serves as a foundational economic building block for the state. North Carolina’s farming and forestry community provides North Carolinians and people across the world with food and fiber. That said, the demands of our growing, modern society require renewable forms of energy to begin to replace finite non-renewable energy resources that have traditionally provided the means for transportation, electricity, and much more.
Given that land and climatic conditions suitable for agriculture are finite, solar development may compete with agricultural land use. One use converts sunlight and fertilizer into food and fiber, while the other converts sunlight into electricity. The purpose of this paper is to explore the extent to which solar photovoltaic facilities and agricultural production compete for land use, as well as the extent to which agricultural production is affected by solar development. The paper is divided into two sections:
(1) Understanding the Context of Solar Development and Agriculture in North Carolina.
(1.1) Developing Renewable Energy,
(1.2) Landowner Land Use Choice,
(1.3) Solar Facility Construction,
(1.4) Duration of Solar Use,
(2) Weighing the Impact of PV Development on Agriculture
(2.1) Solar PV Land Use
(2.2) Impact on Agricultural Productivity
The purpose of this paper is to explore the extent to which competition exists between solar development and agriculture and the extent to which the agricultural productivity of land is affected by solar development. Discussion on this topic was divided into two sections: (1) Understanding the Context of Solar Development and Agriculture in North Carolina and (2) Weighing the Impact of PV Development on Agriculture. In these sections, information and tools were provided to aid in understanding the impact of solar development on agricultural land. Equipped with the information and tools provided by this paper, landowners may be able to better evaluate the viability of solar development on their land.