Cranberry Farmers in Massachusetts Giving Thanks for Solar Opportunity

Photo: Steven Senn, AP

Cranberries, well cranberry prices actually, are underwater — today it costs $35 to produce a barrel of the tart red fruit, but in 2018 that barrel sold for only $25 according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.  Now some cranberry producers in Massachusetts, the second-largest grower after Wisconsin, want to do something that has not been tried before at scale — build solar panels above the bogs they harvest each fall.  They hope to build solar arrays high enough off the ground and in spaced-out clusters that allow for cranberries to be safely grown and harvested underneath.

  •  Solar developer NextSun Energy is working on an array of 27,000 solar panels over about 60 acres (24 hectares) of active bogs across three cranberry farms in Carver, near Cape Cod.
  • If it works, the project will produce about 10 megawatts of energy, which is enough to power more than 1,600 homes.

Why This Matters:  Farmers, who are trying to make ends meet in tough economic times caused by a surplus of supply plus the trade wars with China and Europe  (thanks to the turkey in the White House), are betting that renewable energy and working farms go together like, er, cranberry sauce and stuffing.

To Go Deeper into the Sauce:  Watch the video below.

What You Can Do: Support cranberry farmers in your area — make lots of sauce and muffins while they are fresh and in season!

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