Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Making a Difference: Federal Energy Management Down on the Farm

November 30, 2015

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Above: design of Solar Shaded AgPort, showing sheltered area under photovoltaic-covered rooftop. Image courtesy of Gerald Robinson, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The Energy Department’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) has helped save taxpayers billions over the years by supporting efficiency and renewable energy projects and programs throughout the federal government. FEMP's work has helped transform how the federal government--the single biggest consumer of energy in the United States--not only uses but thinks about using energy.

Recognizing that solar energy is one of our nation’s greatest renewable resources, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory staff in support of FEMP and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) created a specialized version of the common solar shaded carport tailored for agricultural equipment.

Using features of both solar shaded carports and low cost but utilitarian pole barn designs, USDA and FEMP developed the "Solar Shaded AgPort." Solar Shaded AgPorts cover agricultural equipment parking areas, produce electricity from large gently sloping roofs, and protect expensive farm equipment from the elements.  

Most of these assets sit outside due to the height and odd shapes of farming equipment (e.g. tractors, plows, spreaders) and there is a chronic shortage of sheltered parking among nearly all USDA research farming sites. Existing structures accommodate older, smaller, and more compact equipment but there are many millions of dollars’ worth of the larger farm assets exposed to the elements. USDA farm managers are aware of the damage done to rubber hoses, seals, tires, and paint, along with dust and leafy debris accumulating on vehicles. By using existing parking lots, AgPorts do not require site managers to give up precious research crop areas.

By helping USDA facilities make better use of their existing properties, protecting farming equipment while also generating electricity, FEMP is helping make a difference for American families and businesses.

Learn more about FEMP’s work with the federal government, which enables federal agencies to meet energy-related goals and provides energy leadership to the country.