Project Size

Ames, IA



Iowa State University Agrivoltaics

In a pioneering initiative, Iowa State University (ISU) is embarking on a research project to explore the combination of crops and solar power. This groundbreaking agrivoltaics research project aims to merge solar power generation and agriculture to study how best to optimize land use while providing local community benefits.

Horticulture and agriculture students will plant crops to study how they perform under solar arrays of various heights and configurations. Engineering students will review solar production data to see how various crop plantings impact solar production.

The research project received a four-year $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy via a program called Foundational Agrivoltaic Research for Megawatt Scale (FARMS). ISU was one of only six recipients of the $8 million dollar program. The research team is led by Ajay Nair, Associate Professor of Horticulture; Matt O’Neal Professor in Plant Pathology, Entomology and Microbiology; and Anne Kimber, Director of the Electric Power Research Center.

Researchers plan to explore which crops thrive in a modified solar microclimate. They plan to plant vegetables, fruits, and pollinator habitat. They also intend to study how solar site maintenance impacts cultivation.


  • Size: 1.757 MWDC / 1. 375 MWAC
  • Fixed-tilt array: 811 kWDC of fixed tilt in 9 row
    • 6 rows w/ standard height (leading edge 2 ft above the ground in front)
    • 3 rows w/ extra height (leading edge 5 ft above the ground in front)
  • Single-axis active tracker: 946 kWDC in 23 rows
    • 18 rows w/ standard height (5-6 ft above ground)
    • 5 rows w/ extra height (8-9 ft above ground)


Iowa State University (ISU): Grant recipient, research team, electricity off-taker
• Alliant Energy: Owner & operator of solar array on land leased from ISU
• U.S. Department of Energy: Grant making entity
• Waldinger Corporation: General contractor
• Ideal Energy: Solar system design & engineering
Shive-Hattery, Inc: Civil & electrical engineering services

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