Executive Perspective: American Farmland Trust leading the way in adapting new playbooks of abundance to enable humanity to thrive in healthy, harmonious co-existence with all life on Earth, says Dan French, Executive Producer of the Solar Farm Summit

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LOS ANGELES , January 30, 2024 () –

"The future's as bright as we build, grow and raise it."

For Dan French, Executive Producer of the Solar Farm Summit (SFS), that's not just a slogan or constructive philosophy. It's a practice being implemented by thoughtful professionals and organizations adapting new playbooks of abundance that aim to enable humanity to thrive in healthy and harmonious co-existence with all life on the planet.

And for French and SFS, few organizations embody this working practice so excellently as American Farmland Trust.

"AFT has been in the lead driving development of this new playbook and I encourage anyone who is unaware to take a good look at its efforts across the board," French said in a recent LinkedIn post.

The comments come following the announcement that AFT would be the title sponsor of the 2024 Solar Farm Summit, North America’s Agrivoltaics Expo, with a three-year commitment to collaborate in the development of an effective and catalytic annual event focused on solar projects that combine active farming with energy generation—a dual land use known as “agrivoltaics.” 

"I salute AFT for its embrace of this diverse and extremely adaptive basket of applications called agrivoltaics that promises to elevate a new era of agriculture to its maximum potential," French said. 

“There's a lot of work to do, especially taking agrivoltaics to scale and maximizing the broadest set of possible benefits along the way. But one of the few things predictable about farming is unpredictability... and I'm utterly convinced that the multi functionality and adaptability of agrivoltaic—and ecovoltaic —practices will deliver evolutionary change on the order of previous agricultural production booms... and beyond."

Based on major corporate investment and personnel deployment in recent years, French is not alone in his big forward view. Corporate funding, including venture capital funding, public market, and debt financing into the solar sector totalled $34.3 billion raised in 160 deals in 2023, according to a recent report by Mercom Capital Group. This 42% year-over-year increase over the $24.1 billion in 175 deals in 2022 was the largest amount raised in over a decade.

Meanwhile, the solar development majors such as Lightsource bp, Silicon Ranch and Savion (a Shell Group portfolio company) have launched dual-use development initiatives and made strategic hires, including ‘Directors of Agrivoltaics’. And many are mobilizing these newly raised billions into the next generation of better performing solar projects, such as Savion’s multi-thousand acre 800 MW agrivoltaics project in Ohio, Oak Run, which will soon begin farming under thousands of acres of solar panels, if it receives final approval from the Ohio Power Siting Board.

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