University of Illinois
SCAPES will be implemented through iSEE, which leads the campus sustainability programs at the University of Illinois and fosters interdisciplinary research on sustainability, energy, and the environment. The SCAPES team has access to iSEE’s Collaboratory, a state-of-the-art learning and communications space for classes and meetings with the latest telecommunications technology, and video and presentation screens. SCAPES will also have access to the Media Lab in iSEE, a small, full-service video production studio. iSEE also has a fully equipped business office that is experienced in post-award management and human resource management and will be responsible for financial management of this project.
The Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) has first-class computational, informational technology support, video conferencing, and office facilities. It is host to the Genomic Ecology of Global Change (GEGC) theme, which consists of a laboratory of 7,000 square feet along with accompanying office and meeting space. The GEGC theme has access to equipment at the IGB, including 14 growth chambers that deliver irradiances up to the equivalent of full sunlight with a spectral distribution similar to natural direct beam irradiance. Eight of the chambers provide full control of atmospheric carbon dioxide and ozone concentrations and all chambers control temperature and humidity within ecological relevant ranges. The eco-physiological equipment available includes portable gas-exchange systems, a laboratory open-mode gas exchange system, water relations equipment, data loggers, environmental measurement, spectral light measurements and leaf optics, UV-B radiometers, biochemical analysis equipment, and tissue and soil chemistry equipment.
The Madigan laboratory consists of a 1,300-square-foot research laboratory along with accompanying offices and meeting spaces. Dr. Bernacchi’s research group has access to all the necessary facilities and equipment to perform the proposed research and educational activities when combined with the IGB Core Facilities, which include a microscopy facility and GC/MS for metabolite analysis, the W.M. Keck Center for Comparative and Functional Genomics on the UIUC campus, and the Imaging Technology Group at the UIUC Beckman Institute. The research group also has access to a full machine shop located on the SoyFACE site to build and repair field equipment and to calibrate sensors.
Plant Science Laboratory, Branham research group
The Branham research group has lab space in the Plant Science Laboratory with adjacent meeting rooms and office space. The Plant Science Laboratory also has state of the art greenhouse facilities available. The Branham research group has field-oriented research at two research sites on-campus including the 40-acre Fruit Research Farm, where the team has ongoing trials examining the shade tolerance of food crops, a project closely aligned with the theme behind agrivoltaics.
The NSF-sponsored National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), which includes supercomputers and parallel processing clusters will be available for this project, as well as the Blue Waters Supercomputer. The Blue Waters system provides unprecedented, highly productive resources and services for computational and data intensive sciences. It is designed for maximum throughput on very large-scale, complex applications. Blue Waters combines into one, single, fully open system, all connected with a single, uniform, best of class interconnect fabric, the one of the world’s largest general purpose computational resources, one of the largest accelerator-based resources, and the most intense storage system to enable future discoveries that are simply beyond reach today.
Dr. Miljkovic’s space consists of a 2,000-square-foot research area in the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. The lab has access to all of the computing and research resources needed to complete the numerical aspects of this project.
Dr. Lane is a member of the Technology Innovations in Educational Research and Design (TIER-ED) Initiative, a campus-wide effort, led by the College of Education, to design and assess new technology-enabled solutions to the most critical issues in education. TIER-ED has recently renovated space for collaboration and student work at the Children’s Research Center on the UIUC campus, which will be available for this project.
IDEALL is a cutting-edge facility within the University of Illinois’ College of Education that enables researchers to collect data on learning, studying learner interactions with digital technologies in real-time, and research the impact of different learning environments on student learning. The IDEALL Facility includes a laboratory studio with a control room, observation space, wraparound or immersive virtual environment, cameras and projectors in the ceiling, multiple Kinect devices to study gesture and movement for learning with media, as well as multi-touch tabletop screens.
The University of Illinois Library, the largest public research library in the US, has exceptional resources for advanced study and research. The UIUC Engineering Library and Agricultural Library allow researchers to access the agricultural and other data required for this project.
Production from this new 54-acre 12.32 MW solar farm is estimated to be 20,000 megawatt hours per year for use by the University of Illinois, and in combination with Solar Farm 1.0 will make the University of Illinois the country’s third largest user of renewable power generated on-site for higher education facilities. Solar Farm 2.0 is available to the SCAPES research team and will be used to characterize the growing environment under solar panel shade, and generate data on crop tolerance to shade and the microclimate under solar panels.
SolSystems LLC, the developer for Solar Farm 2.0, will be on our Stakeholder Working Group.
University of Arizona
The Biosphere 2 houses indoor laboratories for processing plant and soil samples, fabricating instrumentation, housing two drying ovens, and storing historical samples in freezers, refrigerators, or in dry rooms. In support of Dr. Barron-Gafford’s educational activities, B2 offers multiple small and large classrooms, as well as platforms along the tour walkway for students to practice their communication with the public. In support of educational outreach and acquisition of pilot data, B2 has constructed an agrivoltaic experiential research site.
Barron-Gafford has established a series of Agrivoltaics Learning Labs at the Biosphere 2 facility.
Manzo Agrivoltaic Learning Labs at local schools within the Tucson Unified School District
In addition to the Agrivolatic Learning Labs at Biosphere 2, Barron-Gafford has also established a series of Agrivoltaics Learning Labs at local schools within the Tucson Unified School District, which serve as sites for hands-on learning by K-12 students, as well as college students from the University of Arizona. The SCAPES team will leverage the Agrivoltaics Learning Labs for initial agrivoltaics studies within the first year of the funding period to inform development of Research and Demonstration Sites. The SCAPES team will continue to use the Agrivoltaics Learning Labs located at Title 1 schools within underserved communities for experiential STEM and art learning.
We utilize the Food Literacy Lab for both teacher professional development programs to help incorporate our agrivoltaics research into their classrooms and to teach students about how to utilize the crops we produce in our learning lab. This “farm-to-cafeteria” program is unique in that these are crops that the students have tended and studied in an agrivoltaics or control (full sun) setting throughout the entire growing season. Because we distribute the produce grown to the neighborhood families, the children also take-home knowledge on culinary practices.
Co-PD Barron-Gafford and SP Thompson are Associate Directors for the UA Community and School Gardens Program (https://schoolgardens.arizona.edu/) housed within the School of Geography, Development & Environment. We have established partnerships with the schools such that the students help collect actual scientific data (based on an evolved protocol) and the students then use these datasets and experiences within their classroom activities. Fifty students serve as liaisons between the UA and the community to bring experiential learning through local food production to over 20 schools in the Tucson area. We also use the program website as a resource to share co-developed curriculum for use by other teachers. We lead a ‘train the trainer’ model in which the UA students prepare gardens for food production, and then they work with K-12 children to learn how to produce food within our regional climate. Community and School Gardens Program Director Moses Thompson has committed to building in greater connections to our Agrivoltaics project through this proposal (see letter of support).
Greg Barron-Gafford’s team has regularly prepared educational programs with the Flandrau team. The Flandrau team is aware of the educational game experience we’re working on, and will allocate exhibit space to support this proposed project.
Colorado State University
Alan Knapp’s laboratory is fully equipped for field measurements of plant ecological and ecophysiological responses. Knapp also has access to the laboratory of soil scientist Dr. Eugene Kelly. This lab is fully equipped to prepare and run samples for standard chemical, physical, mineralogical, and pedological analyses such as exchangeable ion determination, cation exchange capacity, calcium carbonate equivalent, X-ray diffraction, water-retention curve determination, and micromorphological analyses.
Colorado State University operates a complete analytical laboratory for soil, plant, and water samples. This lab and laboratories in the soil and crop sciences department collectively have the necessary fume hoods, distilled water, vacuum lines, and supplies of laboratory glassware and reagents. Basic and advanced equipment is available.
EcoCore is one of the Specialized Core Facilities at CSU, providing analytical, training, and educational services related to ecology and ecosystem research to clients across several colleges at CSU, as well as local federal agencies and other universities and institutes. The analytical facility is a campus-wide, common-use facility for a broad suite of elemental, molecular, microbial, and isotopic analysis of soil, plant, water and other environmental samples. The facility provides training and hands-on experience to students, post-docs and scientists on all their instruments while also operating as a service laboratory, offering a variety of analyses on a fee basis. EcoCore is housed and managed by the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (NREL), based in the Warner College of Natural Resources.
The SGRC is an off-campus facility located on the 6,280 ha Central Plains Experimental Range managed by the USDA-ARS Rangeland Resources Research Unit. It is adjacent to the Pawnee National Grassland. The facility includes a classroom/conference building. Adjacent to the classroom building are three houses, each equipped with a full kitchen, that can each sleep up to 10 (total = 30). Site headquarters is within walking distance of the facility and includes a small multipurpose building and a sample processing building that also serves as a workshop and garage for heavy equipment. A full-time on-site manager supports operations of the facility.
Jack’s Solar Garden is a 1.2MW PV park in Colorado on five acres of farmland. It is currently the largest agrivoltaic research project in the U.S., and was designed and built by employee-owned cooperative Namasté Solar. This PV park uses Solar FlexRack TDP Solar Trackers to reduce shading across rows and to increase energy production. Jack’s Solar Garden is used by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Colorado State University, and the University of Arizona to study growing conditions for specialty crops as well as pollinator habitats, grass and wildflowers under the solar panels. The team will have access to Jack’s Solar Garden for initial agrivoltaics studies to inform design of the Research and Demonstration sites.
CSU Extension’s Weld County office is located at the Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley, Colorado, which is also home to the annual Colorado Farm Show. The facility includes an events center, exhibition hall, and 4-H building. The Weld County Extension Director is Chair of the Education Committee for the Colorado Farm Show and has offered a spot in a future Farm Show educational program to highlight the research of this agrivoltaics project.
CSU Extension has offices in most counties in Colorado, and most offices have sufficient meeting space for the two planned stakeholder engagement sessions in Year 2. Extension meeting space can be used for free. Potential stakeholder engagement sessions may be held in Sterling, Colorado (Northeast Regional Engagement Center/CSU Extension Office) and in Limon, Colorado at the Lincoln County Extension office.
Locations for Dedicated AV Research and Demonstration Sites
Field experiments, including development of the AV Research and Demonstration Site at Illinois will be conducted at the University of Illinois Energy Farm. Just south of the main campus, the University of Illinois operates the 320-acre Energy Farm, the world’s largest research center devoted to bioenergy crops. This living laboratory is comprised of six 9-acre fields with state-of-the-art instrumentation for quantifying how different bioenergy crops affect the biogeochemical cycling of carbon, nitrogen, and water, as well as automated systems for phenotyping new plant ideotypes designed to increase yield and water and nitrogen use efficiency. The fields are instrumented with eddy flux towers to collect high-frequency data on CO2 fluxes, energy balance, and water use efficiency. There are seven eddy covariance monitoring stations that are situated over maize/soybean, sorghum, miscanthus, and woody polyculture fields. Full network and power utility capabilities are present at each site for incorporating additional sensors.
The CAC is a 160-acre research, teaching, and extension facility which supports those functions of the eleven College of Agriculture and Life Sciences departments. The facilities include an Agricultural Technology Education Center, Agricultural Research Center, Controlled Environment Agricultural Center, and Modular Classroom, among other research areas, and currently supports over 70 multidisciplinary research studies. The CAC is used for formal classroom courses as well as teaching for Extension programs for both youth and adults.
Barron-Gafford’s team has been assured access to a 1.5-acre research plot on the CAC grounds for at least the next 10 years and the Agriculture Technology Education Center (ATEC) classroom.
Located 4 miles north of Fort Collins, ARDEC serves Colorado State University in facilitating many different agricultural related projects and research activities. ARDEC was founded in 1993 in order to encourage cooperation between soils, crop and water research scientists in an integrated setting under common management. ARDEC comprises 1,065 acres which includes approximately 50 acres leased to the USDA. ARDEC is an off-campus farm, working livestock facility and horticulture field research center under the direction of the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station. This facility serves several departments on campus and involves cooperative programs with USDA Agricultural Research Service. Preliminary Agrivoltaics research by Knapp and others is already on-going at this site.
NREL’s High Performance Computing User Facility provides computing capabilities to scientists and engineers working on solving complex computational and data analysis problems related to energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Eagle is NREL’s latest high-performance computing system dedicated to advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. The peak performance of Eagle is approximately 8 petaflops, or 8 million billion floating point operations per second. The Eagle system will be available to the project to utilize as needed.
Macknick is the PI of the Department of Energy’s InSPIRE project, which coordinates research on solar and agriculture co-location at over 25 field sites across the United States. These field research sites and their data will be made available to the project team. In addition, InSPIRE manages a data portal for agrivoltaics research studies and raw data, which can host data from project teams and serve as an additional venue for widespread dissemination of results.
The University of Illinois Chicago’s (UIC) Energy Resources Center (ERC) has office and classroom space to host workshops, webinars, and lectures. The UIC-ERC has computing equipment and software licenses available for SCAPES, including developing educational curricula and hosting roundtables with industry stakeholders. The UIC-ERC maintains an encrypted server, and multiple websites, and has capabilities of hosting web-based tools for industry use, as well as developing and maintaining webpages and factsheets for stakeholders.
Balance Studios is an innovator in media development and has remained at the forefront of ever-evolving industry technology. Their work is diverse and encompasses an incredible variety of subjects, including the nexus of education and entertainment. Their offerings include:
GROW is a 5,000-square-foot pavilion and an acre of outdoor space within the Saint Louis Science Center. Visitors learn about the journey of food from farm to table, as well as the scientific processes that turn seeds into towering plants. Discover the story of agriculture and the many ways technology is shaping the agricultural landscape.
The Corteva Agriscience ScienceWorks exhibit allows children to explore the work of hydrologists, naturalists, and geologists, and to see how engineers, farmers, and others use science process skills to ask questions and find answers. Activities include driving a John Deere combine cab on a farm to harvest plants, engineering a water system to create energy and prevent flooding, and using data streams such as Doppler radar to create a weather forecast, among other activities.
Illinois Center for Agricultural Engagement
The Illinois Center for Agricultural Engagement hosts Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom (IATIC). IATIC is part of the USDA-supported National Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) program, a network focused on improving agricultural literacy among PreK-12 teachers and students. IATIC provides resources and workshops for PreK-12 teachers at no cost. Online lessons and resources have been provided to more than 700 middle school and high school teachers in recent years, and are available on an education website accessible by ag teachers. The state ag curriculum includes over 1,000 lesson plans focused on a wide range of topics in agriculture including agribusiness, animal science, biological science in agriculture, biotechnology, horticulture, middle school agriscience, physical science in agriculture, and agriculture power, structure, and technical systems. Kevin Daugherty, the Education Director for the Illinois AITC, is also a member of the SCAPES Stakeholder Working Group.
Sunrise Energy Ventures is a solar energy development company specializing in bringing high-quality solar energy installations to U.S. communities. They emphasize facilitating compatible land use for PVs, including enabling productive agriculture for land owner partners. They have expertise in permitting and community engagement, optimizing siting of PV installments, PV economics, and PV technology enhancements and technology vendors. Sunrise Energy Ventures will facilitate analysis of novel PV technologies and provide guidance for the SCAPES team in planning for PV technology implementation at the dedicated R&D Sites, as well as in obtaining additional third-party financing to expand the AV R&D Site located at the University of Illinois, to defray the cost of PV modules, inverters, and mounting by using revenues from generated electricity transmitted to the UI.
The CEO of Sunrise Energy Ventures is a member of the SCAPES Stakeholder Working Group.