Cranberry farmers in Massachusetts are pushing solar development by mounting solar panels over cranberry bogs to increase sustainability and revenues. The first of these in Massachusetts are expected to be completed in the remaining year in the town of Carver. It is a $53M project with 9MW of solar capacity being developed by Pine Gate Renewables which does not interfere with the growth of cranberries. The panels will stand upon wood utility poles and have limited interference with the cranberries. There have been additional proposals in the towns of Plymouth, Wareham, and Rochester for this type of project.
Innovative deployments like these uncover several untapped opportunities in solar, and how renewables can coexist with many different operations. Cranberry growers in Massachusetts have been struggling from increased competition in Canada and solar is being used as an instrument to fend against decreasing revenues. Cranberry farmers have limited options when struggling as wetlands have little potential to be developed by real estate.
The Massachusetts SMART solar incentive program encourages projects to be developed over agricultural fields. This same initiative has pushed solar developers to look for other types of land. As these developments occur the technical learning from previous projects will communicate best practices in future deployments.