Farming Meets Solar: New York’s Next Big Green Leap with Lightstar!

October 2, 2023
2 mins read
Lightstar Renewables, LLC

On September 26, 2023, Wappingers Falls, New York, became the backdrop for Lightstar Renewables’ unveiling of the Old Myers solar project. It’s not just any project; it’s agrivoltaics in action. This innovative blend of agriculture and solar energy is poised to set a new benchmark for energy independence and environmental stewardship in New York.

Nestled within 15 acres in Poughkeepsie, the 2MW community solar project is a fusion of tradition and innovation. The Thompson family is set to reap the benefits of both agriculture and a 25-year solar lease. With the first brick to be laid in Autumn 2023, the buzz is that by Summer 2024, Old Myers will be in full swing.

So, what’s the big deal with agrivoltaics? It’s where solar installations and agriculture coexist, creating a sustainable ecosystem. These aren’t just solar panels; they’re the guardians of the crops, offering protection from the unpredictable whims of nature. And it’s not just about energy. Old Myers will be home to strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, and a touch of lavender.

To ensure top-notch produce, Lightstar is joining forces with renowned local institutions, diving deep into research and sharing insights. Beyond energy, this venture is a beacon for local food security, promising fresh produce right from the farm to the table. Sustainability is at the heart of Old Myers. The goal? Achieving carbon neutrality.

Paul Wheeler, the driving force behind Lightstar, shared, “When solar and agriculture come together, communities thrive with green energy and fresh produce.” In today’s dynamic landscape, balancing renewable energy with food production is more crucial than ever. And Old Myers is right on cue. Here’s a thought: With the US witnessing a significant land transfer, how do we safeguard our farming heritage?

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Lightstar’s approach is clear: Energize, farm, and thrive. It’s about giving farmland a renewed purpose. The Thompson duo, Sean and Brian, are embracing this change, blending their farming roots with cutting-edge solar tech. The collaboration between Lightstar and the Thompsons began in 2022, reshaping the land for its dual potential. Sean Thompson weighed in, “This isn’t just a boost for our farm. It’s about filling a regional food gap with locally grown produce.”

Lightstar’s vision extends beyond solar panels. They’ve teamed up with the American Farmland Trust (AFT) to champion sustainable farming practices. Ethan Winter from AFT recognizes Lightstar’s commitment, especially in areas where urban sprawl threatens farmland. A nod to Solar Agriculture Services (SolAg) for their expertise. They’ve been instrumental in bringing the project to life. Iain Ward of SolAg sees a bright future, “This project is more than energy. It’s about revitalizing regional food production and supporting our farmers.”

For the locals, there’s more good news. Old Myers offers a chance to save on electricity bills with its community solar subscriptions. And the cherry on top? The project is set to boost the local economy, contributing to municipal tax revenue. Lightstar Renewables isn’t new to the game. With a presence in 12 states and an impressive 1000 Megawatts pipeline, they’re shaping the future of solar.

Rooted in the passion of its founders, Lightstar’s mission goes beyond energy. It’s about community, sustainability, and legacy. Clean, affordable energy for all is not just a vision; it’s a promise Lightstar aims to fulfill. With projects like Old Myers, the future of agrivoltaics in New York looks promising. Lightstar is reaching out to visionary farmers, offering a chance to merge traditional farming with modern solar solutions. At its core, Lightstar believes in a holistic approach: energy, community, and sustainability working hand in hand. For those intrigued by Lightstar’s journey and vision, the doors are open. Join the movement and be part of the change.

Govind Tekale

Embarking on a new journey post-retirement, Govind, once a dedicated teacher, has transformed his enduring passion for current affairs and general knowledge into a conduit for expression through writing. His historical love affair with reading, which borders on addiction, has evolved into a medium to articulate his thoughts and disseminate vital information. Govind pens down his insights on a myriad of crucial topics, including the environment, wildlife, energy, sustainability, and health, weaving through every aspect that is quintessential for both our existence and that of our planet. His writings not only mirror his profound understanding and curiosity but also serve as a valuable resource, offering a deep dive into issues that are critical to our collective future and well-being.

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