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Our Story

In 2016, Byron Kominek moved to his family's 24 acre farm south of Longmont, Colorado where he wanted to see their land do more and be more. 


The farm had been growing and selling hay for about 50 years, but it was no longer paying the bills. 

In 2017, Byron looked at new land management options with friends and with Boulder County, and decided to investigate building a solar array on the land. However, the farm was designated as being of National Agricultural Significance and that by County regulations, a solar array was not permissible. 

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But then, Byron learned of agrivoltaics - growing crops under solar panels - from Jordan Macknick of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Greg Barron-Gafford of the University of Arizona, and thought that agrivoltaics may be a model for his family farm to pursue.


After a change to Boulder County's Land Use Code and being approved in a Special Land Use Review process, Jack's Solar Garden was born, which has become a 5 acre 1.2 MW agrivoltaic research site - the largest in the United States.

Providing educational tours at Jack's Solar Garden has been a focus even before construction began. Since the beginning, there has been a desire for a public facing educational component to bring students and community members out to the farm to learn about agrivoltaics. Now this public entity has been created as the nonprofit side of Jack’s Solar Garden called the Colorado Agrivoltaics Learning Center.

The Colorado Agrivoltaic Learning Center was approved as a project of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center in November of 2020 with the help of donations

from Jack's Solar Garden and some local businesses. 

The first full season of private, school, and public tours began in 2021. In the fall of that same year, the Walton Family Foundation reached out to learn more, which changed the trajectory of CALC when they chose to fund us in 2022. This supported our growth in hiring more staff and allowed us to expand our reach, interact with more people, and have more volunteers on-site at Jack's Solar Garden.


With additional funding from the Walton Family Foundation, the Cielo Foundation, and donations from a myriad of individual donors and businesses in 2023, we have been able to continue expanding our operations, providing more on-site experiences for our community, adding additional staff, and enhancing our educational opportunities. 

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