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New Iberia farmer looking into solar farming; pushback from lawmakers and officials

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Posted at 10:07 PM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 23:13:10-04

We're taking a closer look at the debate between farmers and solar companies when it comes to solar farming.

Farming is dependent on the sun, but a recent push for more renewable energy has two types of farmers now competing for land.

A traditional farmer in Acadiana is looking up to his next opportunity.

The hundreds of acres of land in New Iberia produce sugarcane and beans, but that could change if solar energy is coming to the area.

“My grandfather created something that was able to carry through the generations and create wealth through the generations. All I'm trying to do as an heir to this property is continue that on,” said farmer Gregory Sigue.

After some research, Sigue got the idea to expand into solar farming. He's worked alongside UL to develop more detailed results.

“He was very beneficial in the result that I was doing because he was able to get a 1.1-megawatt test facility at UL that gave us factual data,” said Sigue, of UL Mechanical Engineering professor Dr. Terrence Chambers.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, almost 50 solar companies operate throughout the state with a total investment of $465 million. Solar farming interests faced pushback in the recent legislative session. Sigue hopes there's a compromise.

"It's a beautiful and perfect opportunity to lift ourselves back up. I'm not trying to offend anybody but at the same time, I've done the research, the numbers match, the science matches. It's all about getting advocacy from our elected officials to do something positive for Louisiana,” said Sigue.

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