Due to the unprecedented drought, many of California’s farmers won’t be allocated any water this year, thanks to the way that the state’s water rights work. But what actually happens to the farms that don’t get water? Some of the farmers are ditching produce altogether for a more profitable alternative to crops — they’re installing solar farms.
In this excellent video, Newsweek travels to the Central Valley of California to meet a third-generation farmer named Garrett Rajkovich who has successfully made the switch from growing almonds — yes, that polarising nut — to generating power. It turns out that almond trees and solar panels have a lot in common: They both require lots of sun, they take up just about the same footprint on the landscape, and they both have a lifespan of about 20 to 30 years. It’s a temporary fix for now, but will likely become a permanent change, says Rajkovich. “My son, who’s very technologically savvy, will probably be a solar farmer instead of an almond farmer.” [Newsweek via Grist]