Uwe Kortshagen Wins 2024 IonE Impact Goal Grant

ME Professor Uwe Kortshagen is leading one of 12 new projects funded by the Institute on the Environment's (IonE) Impact Goal Grants.

IonE's Impact Goals grantmaking program has supported dozens of high-impact projects that combine the expertise of UMN faculty, researchers, staff, and community partners – distributing more than $2.2 million in funding to 30 projects since launching the grants in 2019.

This year, IonE awarded another $1.9 million to 12 new projects, with community partners representing nearly 30 organizations, on topics ranging from the combination of solar and agriculture to maximize social benefit to survey methods to build public trust and understanding for the management of some of Minnesota’s most culturally significant wildlife. This year's disburement is the largest granting cycle to date.

Agrivoltaics to Generate Clean Electricity and Provide Land Access for Emerging and BIPOC farmers

Domains: Clean Energy, Food Systems, Environmental Justice

To achieve the State’s renewable energy goals, Minnesota utilities will add several gigawatts of solar photovoltaics, which will require thousands of acres of land and create land use competition between clean energy generation, agriculture, and urban development.

Agrivoltaics, the dual use of land for agriculture and photovoltaics, can alleviate this competition and increase overall land use efficiency. Moreover, developing agrivoltaic solar farms opens up new opportunities for providing land access to emerging, immigrant, and BIPOC farmers from underserved communities. This project will establish best practices for utility-scale agrivoltaic solar farms that provide land access to farmers from underserved communities to enhance equity and food security.

Principal Investigator:

Uwe Kortshagen; Professor, Mechanical Engineering, UMN-Twin Cities


  • Vivian Ferry (Co-PI); Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, UMN-Twin Cities
  • Nathan Eylands (Co-PI); Assistant Professor, Horticulture, UMN-Twin Cities
  • Aaron Hanson; Energy Program Specialist, Institute on the Environment
  • KaZoua Berry; Program Director, Big River Farms
  • Sarah Woutat; Lead Farmer, Big River Farms
  • Peter Schmitt; Director, Project Development, US Solar
  • Rob Davis; Public Affairs, Programs, and Media Relations, Connexus Energy
  • Jordan Macknick; Lead Energy-Water-Land Analyst, National Renewable Energy Laboratory