Lightstar Renewables Developing 2 MW Agrivoltaics Community Solar Project in New York

Sept. 28, 2023
The project will provide several benefits, including protecting crops from extreme weather events and helping residents and businesses access electricity bill savings

To foster energy independence and environmental and land stewardship in New York, Lightstar Renewables is developing its 15-acre 2 MW Old Myers community solar project, an agrivoltaics project, in Wappingers Falls, Poughkeepsie.

The agrivoltaics project will be a dual-use solar installation, meaning the solar panels are mounted high enough to allow adequate space for crops to grow and livestock to graze. The solar panels will also protect the crops from extreme weather events, including storms, early or late frosts, and heat waves.

The project, expected to be completed by Summer 2024, will provide several other benefits, including:

  • Assisting the site with agricultural production and stable lease income generation over a 25-year period.
  • Helping residents and businesses access electricity bill savings through discounted community solar subscriptions.
  • Creating tax revenue for the local municipality.
  • Helping to harvest fresh produce, such as strawberries, tomatoes, and peppers, for active market production in New York.
  • Enhancing food security for the local community.
  • Making the grid cleaner and more reliable.

The benefits of applying renewable energy across the crop-growing cycle will help achieve carbon neutrality on the farm.

"This project is a fantastic opportunity for our family farm to increase our capacity to produce a variety of healthy locally grown crops and at the same time demonstrate the viability and effectiveness of the dual-use solar concept,” said Sean Thompson, Landowner and Farmer. “The crops we produce under the array will be sold directly to consumers as well as through local channels and will fill a food niche that is otherwise only satisfied by producers outside of our region."

Lightstar will partner with local institutions to study the produce grown through the project and record the financial and agricultural case studies for wide distribution. The company has also collaborated with the American Farmland Trust (AFT) for regenerative agricultural practices and led projects using AFT’s Smart Solar Siting Principles.