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Energy Farm Mini Agrivoltaics

Posted by Kejsi Ago on February 9, 2023

Below is an email from Madhu Khanna regarding the energy farm mini agrivoltaics. 


From: Khanna, Madhu <khanna1 at> 
Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2023 3:37 AM
To: Kamarah, Ehab <ekamarah at>; White, Morgan <mbwhite at>
Subject: Energy Farm mini agrivoltaics


Hi Ehab


While we are waiting for doing the agrivoltaic experiments at Solar Farm 2 and build our own AV farm, Carl Bernacchi has been working on creating a small AV experiment at the Energy Farm with a few solar panels that can be set up to grow vegetables underneath. This project will generate solar energy that will be connected to the campus grid.


Tim Mies and Carl Bernacchi have sent the following information.  Carl has used his USDA funds to purchase solar frames. They have been able to acquire panels from storage and  Brent Lewis at F&S.  But need $5-10K to salvage the panels and reinstall them.


Can we approve up to $10K funds from the carbon credit fund to cover these costs? Tim plans to apply for SSC funding as well and if he gets funding then these costs can come down. We can justify it as a project that will contribute to increasing renewable energy generation in the future.







Madhu Khanna

Pronouns: she, her

Alvin H. Baum Family Chair & Director, Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment

ACES Distinguished Professor in Environmental Economics

Co-Director, Center for Economics of Sustainability

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

1301, W. Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL 61801


email:; phone: 217-333-5176; fax: 217-333-5538



From: Mies, Tim <tmies at> 
Sent: Tuesday, February 7, 2023 1:50 PM
To: Khanna, Madhu <khanna1 at>
Cc: Bernacchi, Carl J <bernacch at>
Subject: Energy Farm mini agrivoltaics



Good Morning Madhu,


I would like to update a bit on how this project might go forward, and ask for your thoughts on possible funding to complete this project (connect to campus grid).


Carl to date has purchased 3 solar frames which can hold up to 72 of the size panel I have in storage (from the 2007 Solar Decathlon house).  Unfortunately I have only 40 panels, which will lead to a gaps in shading with only 12 panels per structure.


My initial intention was to apply to SSC for funding to fill the space, purchase inverters, and hire electricians to connect to the campus grid.  This application would occur after the initial goal, shading research plots, is complete.


Since this last email, I was contacted by Brent Lewis at F&S regarding potential surplus panels available immediately due to a demolition project under way for the failed building the panels connect to.  The picture below shows 60 panels of larger capacity (245 watt instead of 180) that would be able to fully populate the footprint of Carl’s frames.  In addition, there are inverters and ancillary connection parts that can likely be reused to allow these panels continued production on the campus grid.


A ballpark estimate from F&S would be 5-10K to salvage all of the panels and equipment.   Do you think there would be support from Ehab to utilize carbon credit funds to at least salvage the panels and reinstall on the new frames?  I would be willing to apply to SSC again for the final connection if carbon funds could not cover this all.


Please let me know if you have any additional questions or clarifications that we can provide.