Could Solar Energy Be California's Next Cash Crop?
Strapped by drought, farmers are increasingly sowing solar panels rather than seeds.
Several years ago, Nick Rajkovich bought 1,200 acres in California's Fresno County, planning to grow almonds for his family's farming business.
The ranch had a steady supply of water at the time. But that changed with the state's latest, relentless drought: Federal water deliveries over the past three years dwindled to zero.
"Now the almonds are dead," Rajkovich says; and with the land bone dry and no relief in sight, "The only thing we can farm is the sun. That's why solar is the obvious choice for us."
Rajkovich is one of many farmers in the Central Valley and elsewhere who are turning land over to solar developers, planting photovoltaic panels instead of crops.
California's punishing drought is sparking fierce debates over water allotments