Clean Energy Helps Turning Lawns Into Urban Farms

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Our Thursday green news brings you the latest on green architecture, climate change, energy and communities:

floatovoltaics, clean energy, solar systems

Photo courtesy of Infratech Industries

  • Clean energy helps turning lawns into urban farms: A new project called Fleet Farming manages to transform wasteful, water-hogging lawns into mini urban farms to help boost local food production. It’s a bike-powered, all-volunteer team of farmers located in Orlando, Florida. The project works on a principle that a landowner or renter with owner consent donates their chemical-free lawn to Fleet Farming, which will then use it for an installation of a food-producing plot of about 500 square feet in size (farmlette). Each participant signs a two-year agreement with a suggested donation of $500 to the cover start-up costs. The “farmlette” consists of row crops grown directly in the ground, which are shared with the participants. Farmers use bikes to pedal from home plot to home plot to harvest the produce. Produce grown at these urban farms is then sold at local farmers markets and restaurants within a five-mile radius. According to Fleet Farms, to date they have converted 11 lawns in the Orlando-area into gardens and harvested 1,650 pounds of produce. On top of that, they’ve also pedaled 3,078 miles and saved 3,300 pounds of C02.
  • How floating solar farms are more efficient than land ones: Recently, floating solar projects (or floatovoltaics) are appearing in all corners of the world, including Japan, Brazil, the U.S., the UK, and Australia. Compared to mounted panels, floating systems are naturally cooled by the bodies of water they are installed on, which boosts power production efficiency. On top of it, floatovoltaics shade the water, which reduces water evaporation and slows algae blooms. According to Rajesh Nellore, the chief executive of Infratech Industries, a Sydney-based company: “The efficiencies are what motivated us to look at these systems.” The Australian company erected a floating solar system in Jamestown, South Australia and claims that the system generates 57 percent more energy than rooftop panels.
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