Tag Archive for: AgriSolar

The National Center for Appropriate Technology or NCAT has been helping people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance, and protect natural resources since 1976. NCAT is a national, private non-profit organization providing trusted, individualized technical assistance, hands-on training opportunities, practical educational resources, and peer-to-peer learning networks on nationally acclaimed projects in food, agriculture, energy, and climate resilience. Headquartered in Butte, Montana, NCAT has offices in 13 states. NCAT works to foster and promote sustainable technologies and systems, especially for the benefit of economically disadvantaged individuals and communities. NCAT is committed to advancing racial equity and inclusion in its work and organization.

NCAT is seeking a Full-time or Part-time certified Energy Auditor. The Energy Auditor will work on NCAT’s energy conservation and AgriSolar projects. NCAT’s Energy Services works with commercial buildings and agricultural energy systems to develop energy conservation, solar, and Agrisolar projects for their farms, buildings, and communities. Building energy audits include certified energy audits of HVAC, building envelope, motors, pumps, blowers, and lighting.

This is an excellent opportunity to work with a dedicated and professional staff to develop agrivoltaic and energy conservation projects. The Energy Auditor will work with clients and staff throughout the country, with a focus on energy auditing in Montana. The successful candidate must be willing and able to travel throughout Montana for energy audits, events, workshops, and training as needed. There will be some travel outside of Montana on an occasional basis. Candidates located near NCAT’s Headquarters in Butte Montana have the option of an office located in the NCAT HQ Campus. Candidates not located near Butte will be required to set up and work from a remote office in Montana.

QUALIFICATIONS:
This position requires a combination of education and/or experience in energy systems. The position requires a certification in commercial building energy auditing, such as the American Association of Energy Engineers Certified Energy Auditor (CEA) Program or the ASHRAE Building Energy Auditor Program (BEAP). Experience with energy audits, and field energy assessments, including work with electrical systems, motors, pumps, and blowers is required. Experience with sustainable energy systems, solar development, agrisolar, and agrivoltaics, is preferred.

DESIRED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND ABILITIES:

  • Commitment and passion for the NCAT mission;
  • Knowledge and ability to perform in-depth energy audits.
  • Strong interest and knowledge in building technologies, energy conservation, residential, agrivoltaics, and solar energy.
  • Ability to understand and develop solar and agrivoltaic projects.
  • Knowledge of HVAC, building envelope, control systems, electrical systems, lighting, motors, pumps, and blowers.
  • Strong organization, time management, and planning skills.
  • The ability to calculate data to inform organizational operations.
  • Excellent communication skills, with experience in public speaking, and presentations.
  • The ability to be flexible and adapt to changing environments and projects.
  • Skills in research, technical writing, and editing.
  • Demonstrated interest and knowledge in promoting energy efficiency.
  • Experience in energy use and conservation modeling.
  • Strong organizational and planning skills with attention to detail.
  • Self-motivated, with an ability to work independently, as well as with teams.
  • High level of emotional intelligence and diplomatic skills, with the ability to work collaboratively across NCAT’s multiple geographies and cultural backgrounds.
  • Ability to prioritize work assignments and complete tasks in a timely manner.
  • The ability to build relationships and collaborate with community organizations, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and other partners.
  • The ability to travel (estimated travel 10-15% of the time).

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Promote and support NCAT’s mission.
  • Conduct certified commercial energy audits.
  • Provide technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, land managers, and the public on agrisolar and agrivoltaic development.
  • Facilitate incentives and rebates from utilities.
  • Perform energy analysis with energy performance software.
  • Research technical information on energy efficiency and agrivoltaics.
  • Evaluate the condition of properties.
  • Assess the cost-effectiveness of products, services, and projects.
  • Provide technical assistance to building owners, engineers, architects, contractors, and property management officials on energy-efficient building practices.
  • Prepare and edit written descriptions, topical summaries, bibliographies, and other information materials suitable for giving presentations and posting to websites while targeting a variety of audiences of varying degrees of technical knowledge.
  • Communicate via email, telephone, and in person to gather and disseminate information.
  • Recommends engineering modifications to increase energy performance.
  • Provide high-level work and adapt to changing project workload.
  • Attend workshops, seminars, and related events in support of project duties.
  • Build and strengthen relationships with partners and stakeholders.

SALARY AND BENEFITS:
$55,000 – $62,000 Full-time annual salary depending on qualifications and experience. Salary will be prorated for Part-time status. Excellent benefits include a flexible schedule, paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays, health, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance, a cafeteria and 401(k) plan, and a pleasant, professional environment.

APPLICATION PROCESS:
Applications will be accepted until a suitable candidate can be identified. Early applications are encouraged. Applicants are encouraged to visit www.ncat.org to learn more about NCAT. NCAT employees interested in the position should email Human Resources a letter of interest as soon as possible. All persons interested in being considered for the position should upload a resume and cover letter through BambooHR. Please submit a current resume and a cover letter highlighting experience and skills relevant to the listed qualifications. Resume and cover letters can be uploaded at https://ncat.bamboohr.com/careers. Simply choose the position you are applying for and then click “apply for this job” to upload the required resume and cover letter. Questions about the application process can be directed to:

Kriss Sullivan, Director of Human Resources
e-mail: jobs@ncat.org

NCAT’s mission is to help people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance, and protect natural resources. Our work brings together diverse partnerships and communities to help reduce poverty and protect our natural resources. We strive to be a multicultural organization that embraces the rich dimensions of diversity such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical ability, religious or political belief and marital or veteran status. Diversity creates healthy communities. Special consideration will be given to applicants who are reflective of the communities that we serve. NCAT is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

For additional information about NCAT please visit our website at www.ncat.org.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology or NCAT has been helping people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance, and protect natural resources since 1976. NCAT is a national, private non-profit organization providing trusted, individualized technical assistance, hands-on training opportunities, practical educational resources, and peer-to-peer learning networks on nationally acclaimed projects in food, agriculture, energy, and climate resilience. Headquartered in Butte, Montana, NCAT has offices in 13 states. NCAT works to foster and promote sustainable technologies and systems, especially for the benefit of economically disadvantaged individuals and communities. NCAT is committed to advancing racial equity and inclusion in its work and
organization.

NCAT is seeking a Full-time or Part-time Energy Engineer. The Engineer must be a certified Energy Auditor. The Energy Engineer will work on NCAT’s energy conservation and AgriSolar projects. NCAT’s Energy Services works with commercial buildings and agricultural energy systems to develop energy conservation, solar, and AgriSolar projects for their farms, buildings, and communities. Building energy audits include certified energy audits of HVAC, building envelope, motors, pumps, blowers, and lighting.

This is an excellent opportunity to work with a dedicated and professional staff to develop agrivoltaic and energy conservation projects. The Energy Engineer will work with clients and staff throughout the country, with a focus on energy auditing in Montana. The successful candidate must be willing and able to travel throughout Montana for energy audits, events, workshops, and training as needed. There will be some travel outside Montana on an occasional basis. Candidates located near NCAT’s Headquarters in Butte Montana have the option of an office located in the NCAT HQ Campus. Candidates not located near Butte will be required to set up and work from a remote office in Montana.

QUALIFICATIONS:
This position requires a combination of education and/or experience in energy systems. The position requires a degree in engineering and a certification in commercial building energy auditing, such as the American Association of Energy Engineers Certified Energy Auditor (CEA) Program or the ASHRAE Building Energy Auditor Program (BEAP). Professional Engineering License, and experience with energy audits, field energy assessments, including work with electrical systems, motors, pumps and blowers is required. Experience with sustainable energy systems, solar development, agrisolar, agrivoltaics, is preferred.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND ABILITIES REQUIRED:

  • Commitment and passion for the NCAT mission;
  • Knowledge and ability to perform in-depth energy audits;
  • Strong interest and knowledge in building technologies, energy conservation, residential, agrivoltaics, and solar energy;
  • Ability to understand and develop solar and agrivoltaic projects;
  • Knowledge of HVAC, building envelope, control systems, electrical systems, lighting, motors, pumps, and blowers;
  • Strong organization, time management, and planning skills;
  • Excellent communication skills, with experience in public speaking, and presentations;
  • The ability to be flexible, and adapt to changing environments and projects;
  • Skills in research, technical writing, and editing;
  • Demonstrated interest and knowledge in promoting energy efficiency;
  • Experience in energy use and conservation modeling;
  • Strong organizational and planning skills with attention to detail;
  • Self-motivated, with an ability to work independently, as well as with teams;
  • High level of emotional intelligence and diplomatic skills, with the ability to work collaboratively across NCAT’s multiple geographies and cultural backgrounds;
  • Ability to prioritize work assignments and to complete tasks in a timely manner;
  • The ability to build relationships and collaborate with community organizations, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and other partners;
  • Ability to travel (estimated 25% of your time).

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Promote and support NCAT’s mission;
  • Conduct certified commercial energy audits;
  • Provide technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, land managers, and the public on agrisolar and agrivoltaic development;
  • Facilitate incentives and rebates from utilities;
  • Perform energy analysis with energy performance software;
  • Research technical information on energy efficiency and agrivoltaics;
  • Provide technical assistance to building owners, engineers, architects, contractors, and property management officials on energy efficient building practices;
  • Prepare and edit written descriptions, topical summaries, bibliographies, and other information materials suitable for giving presentations and posting to websites while targeting a variety of audiences of varying degrees of technical knowledge;
  • Communicate via email, telephone, and in person to gather and disseminate information;
  • Recommends engineering modifications to increase energy performance;
  • Provide high level work, and adapt to changing project work load:
  • Attend workshops, seminars, and related events in support of project duties;
  • Build and strengthen relationships with partners and stakeholders.

SALARY AND BENEFITS:
$75,000 – $82,000 Full-time annual salary depending on qualifications and experience. Salary will be prorated for Part-time status. Excellent benefits include a flexible schedule, paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays, health, dental, vision, life and disability insurance, a cafeteria and 401(k) plan and a pleasant, professional environment.

APPLICATION PROCESS:
Applications will be accepted until a suitable candidate can be identified. Early applications are encouraged. Applicants are encouraged to visit www.ncat.org to learn more about NCAT. NCAT employees interested in the position should email Human Resources a letter of interest as soon as possible. All persons interested in being considered for the position should upload a resume and cover letter through BambooHR. Please submit a current resume and a cover letter highlighting experience and skills relevant to the listed qualifications. Resume and cover letters can be uploaded at https://ncat.bamboohr.com/careers. Simply choose the position you are applying for and then click “apply for this job” to upload the required resume and cover letter. Questions about the application process can be directed to:

Kriss Sullivan, Director of Human Resources
e-mail: jobs@ncat.org

NCAT’s mission is to help people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance, and protect natural resources. Our work brings together diverse partnerships and communities to help reduce poverty and protect our natural resources. We strive to be a multicultural organization that embraces the rich dimensions of diversity such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical ability, religious or political belief and marital or veteran status. Diversity creates healthy communities. Special consideration will be given to applicants who are reflective of the communities that we serve. NCAT is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

For additional information about NCAT please visit our website at www.ncat.org.

For more than 150 years Knowlton Family Farms in Grafton, Massachusetts has been a family-owned operation. It’s grown and shrunk over the years, and now is back in a period of expansion thanks to combining solar energy production with agriculture.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology’s (NCAT) AgriSolar Clearinghouse today released its short film “The Cows Come Home,” which shows viewers how the Knowlton family has been able to reintroduce cattle to their farm. Owner Paul Knowlton says the last of their dairy cows were sold in 1995, and now they’ve been able to bring cattle back to the farm to graze among solar panels.

“We really wanted to try to do something different, and we made it happen, it’s a reality, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results,” Paul Knowlton said. “It was designed with the cows in mind, vegetables in mind, and also we can put a variety of different animals in here for grazing. They [the cows] took to it like fish to water.”

AgriSolar or agrivoltaic partnerships are growing across solar-appropriate farmland in the U.S., providing a new revenue source for farmers, clean energy for surrounding communities, and myriad benefits to crops, livestock, and pollinators.

Knowlton says agrisolar is what has allowed his farm to remain a viable family business.

“Nationwide, this could be a new standard,” Knowlton adds. “The idea of year-round revenue is really, really important. Having a farm that has the ability to survive is just so important. This is a way to keep the farmland going.”

NCAT’s AgriSolar Clearinghouse is connecting businesses, land managers, and researchers with trusted resources to support the growth of co-located solar and sustainable agriculture.

“AgriSolar partnerships are helping to keep family farms in family hands,” said NCAT Energy Director Stacie Peterson, PhD. “We can maximize finite resources for the benefit of communities, the environment, and businesses when agriculture and energy come together.”

The National Center for Appropriate Technology’s (NCAT) AgriSolar Clearinghouse today premiered its short film “The Solar Shepherd” during the 2023 Solar Farm Summit in Chicago.

The film showcases a family-owned farm in central Massachusetts that’s raising sheep and solar energy on the same piece of land. AgriSolar or agrivoltaic partnerships are growing across solar-appropriate farmland in the U.S., providing a new revenue source for farmers, clean energy for surrounding communities, and myriad benefits to crops, livestock, and pollinators.

“It’s been a wonderful friendship between the two businesses,” says Solar Shepherd LLC founder Dan Finnegan. “We can’t access enough land to keep our farm sustainable, without this partnership with solar, we wouldn’t have a successful farm, we simply don’t have enough acres to graze.”

Finnegan partnered with SWEB Development Inc. on the 15-acre solar array which provides enough clean energy to power 1,100 homes and has so-far raised 45 lambs to maturity.

“You can have this partnership in a one-acre field, a 15-acre field up to a couple hundred acres,” says Joe Mendelsohn, project developer with SWEB Development Inc.

NCAT’s AgriSolar Clearinghouse is connecting businesses, land managers, and researchers with trusted resources to support the growth of co-located solar and sustainable agriculture.

“Tremendous potential exists in partnerships between farmers and solar developers,” says NCAT Energy Director Stacie Peterson, PhD. “As the demand for solar energy grows, it’s up to us to be good stewards of the finite land resources we have and maximize the benefit to farmers, communities, and the environment.”

The AgriSolar Clearinghouse, developed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is launching a series of hands-on field trips to see firsthand the benefits of co-locating sustainable agriculture and solar energy. The Follow the Sun Tour’s first stop is April 5 at Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona.

“AgriSolar allows us to harvest the sun twice. As America’s appetite for sustainably grown products and renewable energy continues to increase, agrisolar has the potential to provide both resources,” says NCAT Energy Program Director Dr. Stacie Peterson. “The Follow the Sun Tour will visit agrivoltaic sites around the country that are seeing success with things like co-located grazing, habitat rehabilitation, crop production, and cutting-edge research. Our national network of partners includes the world’s leading agrivoltaic experts and we are excited to connect the public with partners like Dr. Greg Barron-Gafford and provide the opportunity to tour his research sites.”

Join Peterson and leading agrivoltaic researcher Dr. Barron-Gafford on a tour of the agrisolar research underway at Biosphere 2. Biosphere 2 is the world’s largest controlled environment dedicated to understanding the impacts of climate change. Operated by the University of Arizona, the facility includes 3.14 acres, with 7.2 million cubic feet sealed underneath glass domes. Barron-Gafford and his team are investigating the potential for reintroducing vegetation into the typical PV power plant installation in drylands. His research shows that this approach may lead to increased renewable energy production, increased food production, and reduced water use. For interested participants, the tour will continue to the Manzo Elementary School Agrivoltaic site in Tucson.

Space is limited. RSVP is required.

NCAT created the nation’s first AgriSolar Clearinghouse to connect farmers, ranchers, land managers, solar developers, and researchers with trusted, practical information to increase the appropriate co-location of solar and agriculture. It’s funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The AgriSolar Clearinghouse features a library of more than 400 peer-reviewed articles, a media hub featuring videos, podcasts, and relevant news, and a user forum to directly connect people interested in agrivoltaic development in real-time. Partner organizations include leading universities, the Smithsonian, sustainable agriculture and energy advocates, the Center for Rural Affairs, and the national energy laboratories.

The benefits of co-locating solar with appropriate agricultural land include producing food, conserving ecosystems, creating renewable energy, increasing pollinator habitat, and maximizing farm revenue.

The AgriSolar Clearinghouse’s free Follow the Sun Tour will stop at about a dozen agrivoltaic sites over the next two years. Future field trips will include visits to sites in Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, New York and more. Sign up for the AgriSolar Extra to be sure you know about upcoming Follow the Sun Tour stops.

In less than a decade, solar installations are expected to cover more than 3 million acres of the United States, creating a big opportunity to pair solar with agricultural land to produce food, conserve ecosystems, create renewable energy, increase pollinator habitat, and maximize farm revenue.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology, a nonprofit focused on sustainable energy and agriculture solutions, has launched the nation’s first AgriSolar Clearinghouse to connect farmers, ranchers, land managers, solar developers, and researchers with trusted, practical information to increase the co-location of solar and agriculture.

“There are tremendous benefits of pairing solar and agriculture,” NCAT Energy Programs Director Stacie Peterson, PhD said. “As America’s appetite for sustainably grown products and renewable energy continues to increase, agrisolar has the potential to provide both resources. AgriSolar is a win-win.”  

NCAT’s AgriSolar Clearinghouse features a library of peer-reviewed information, a media hub featuring videos, podcasts, and relevant news, and a user forum to connect people interested in agrisolar development in real-time.

“The AgriSolar Clearinghouse will present a platform open to all Americans for sharing the nationwide efforts in agricultural integration at solar facilities,” said American Solar Grazing Association Executive Director Lexie Hain. “The exciting thing for us at ASGA is that the AgriSolar Clearinghouse will amplify a thoughtful and trusted approach to expanding America’s efforts in solar and agricultural land use.”

The project’s diverse group of more than 30 partners and stakeholders representing private business, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, national energy laboratories, the Smithsonian, and leading universities will be a key ingredient in supporting the expansion of agrisolar developments across the country.

NCAT’s AgriSolar Clearinghouse is funded by a three-year, $2.03 million cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The Solar Energy Technologies Office supports early-stage research and development to improve the affordability, reliability, and domestic benefit of solar technologies on the grid.

“NCAT and our partners are well positioned to help solar developers and farmers connect to make the most out of co-locating solar arrays and agricultural land,” NCAT Executive Director Steve Thompson said. “For 45 years, NCAT has been a trusted broker of practical information to advance locally-grown and sustainable agriculture and energy solutions.”

To learn more about the AgriSolar Clearinghouse visit AGRISOLARCLEARINGHOUSE.ORG.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) will launch an online information clearinghouse in 2021 to promote solar-energy development on agricultural lands while protecting — and even improving — those lands’ agricultural capacity.

NCAT was selected for a $1.6 million cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop the Agri-Solar Clearinghouse (ASC), a national information hub and professional network that connects researchers, technology companies, solar developers, landowners, farmers and consumers.

“Federal energy planners estimate that utility-scale solar installations could cover almost 2 million acres of land in the United States by 2030,” said Stacie Peterson, Ph.D., director of NCAT’s energy programs.

“Under traditional solar development, these lands could be taken over for energy-only production and this could lead to negative impacts on food production,” Peterson said. “However, there is tremendous opportunity for low-impact solar development that is complementary with sustainable agriculture, increasing pollinator habitat, improving soil health,  and  promoting native species, all while diversifying revenue streams for both agricultural and solar operations.”

“NCAT’s decades of experience in sustainable energy and agriculture will enable the group to work as an honest broker of co-location information,” said Peterson.

“Together, with our incredible network of partners, we hope to help promote the co-location of solar and agriculture in a way that is beneficial to both throughout the United States and territories.”

National Renewable Energy Laboratory researchers Jordan Macknick and Paul Torcelini along with UMass professor Stephen Herbert survey the test plot at the UMass Crop Animal Research and Education Center in South Deerfield, MA.
— Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL 53126

ASC will showcase and develop practical, affordable solar-energy solutions through research, success stories, case studies, and multi-media outreach. The project will also connect participants through an online forum, mailing list, workshops and farm tours to facilitate peer-to-peer exchanges and mentoring.

ASC also will have databases that help locate financial and technical assistance, as well as identify best practices, explain regulatory issues and provide policy information.

The Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) of the U.S. Department of Energy will provide a three-year, $1.6 million cooperative agreement to help fund the project. The total budget of the project for three years is $2,030,000.

NCAT has a number of partners in the project, including Argonne National Laboratory, Bozeman Green Build, Breezy Point Energy, Center for Rural Affairs, Fresh Energy Center for Pollinators in Energy, George Washington University, Helical Solar Solutions, Montana Renewable Energy Association, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Renewable Northwest, Ridge to Reefs, Seeta Sistla, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Virginia Working Landscapes, and Wexus Technologies.

ASC is expected go live in the summer of 2021.

The SETO program provided a total of $130 million in fiscal year 2020 for projects that improve the affordability, reliability, and value of solar technologies on the U.S. power grid.

NCAT’s project is one of four that focus on siting solar-energy systems in agricultural settings. The four projects were funded at a total of $7 million. Their aim is to help farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural enterprises gain value from solar technologies while keeping land available for agricultural purposes.

NCAT is a national nonprofit, founded in 1976, with a mission of helping people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance, and protect natural resources.

It is headquartered in Butte, Mont., and has five regional offices around the country.

NCAT’s team of 35 sustainable agriculture specialists and energy engineers, along with its partners, will develop the clearinghouse. NCAT will develop alternate funding streams to ensure ASC will continue after the three-year funding period.