Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental and Energy Policy (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Social Sciences

Advisor 1

Chelsea Schelly

Committee Member 1

Richelle Winkler

Committee Member 2

Roman Sidortsov


This report aims to assess the potential of agrivoltaics (combined solar and agricultural systems) for development geographically proximate to the six Michigan (MI) communities that have set 100% renewable energy (RE) goals. I focus on one major research question: What is the total acreage of low-impact sites available for utility-scale (USS) agrivoltaics development proximate (within county boundaries) to MI communities with 100% RE goals? SAM is used to estimate land acreage required for a 10 MW agrivoltaic system development. ArcGIS Pro is used to determine the total acreage of low-impact sites proximate to MI communities with 100% RE goals.

Proximate low-impact sites are defined as agricultural land with minimal environmental and land use impacts, having access to transmission and distribution infrastructure, and are located within the same county as the community with the RE goal. This study finds that USS agrivoltaics development is possible in all six counties. On the premise that the benefits and ills of an energy technology should be distributed equitably within society regardless of social and economic factors, USS agrivoltaic systems could provide a source of revenue for farmers and promote local employment within the county. In addition, such systems can help support the state of MI to achieve its current RPS of 15% and carbon neutrality by 2050. This report provides a first step in assessing the potential of agrivoltaic development in Michigan, which can inform future work that integrates other considerations relevant to solar development.