American Farmland Trust’s report, “Smart Solar Siting on Farmland: Achieving Climate Goals while Strengthening the Future for Farming in New York,” details research findings and provides guidance to state and federal policymakers, farmers, solar developers, and local officials on how to expand solar energy generation while strengthening farmland protection and farm viability in New York state. As New York strives to meet ambitious renewable energy goals to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, demand for farmland to host utility-scale solar arrays across the state is increasing.
In 2021, AFT led a research project that convened an expert advisory group and surveyed and solicited feedback from hundreds of upstate farmers, land trusts, local officials, solar developers, and other stakeholders to gain a clear picture of the impact solar development may have on farm communities throughout New York. In this report, AFT summarizes this feedback and puts forward a comprehensive agenda to achieve smart solar siting in New York. This agenda includes a new solar siting mitigation framework, ideas for how to increase innovative agrivoltaic projects, and other recommendations designed to encourage solar developers to site projects in ways that strengthen farm communities and protect farmland.