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Reporting on science, technology and innovation in Arizona and the Southwest through a collaboration from Arizona NPR member stations. This project is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.Additional stories from the Arizona Science Desk are posted at our collaborating station, KJZZ:

UA Demonstrates Solar Energy For The Farm At Southwest Ag Summit

Amanda Solliday - KAWC

Arizona Western College is hosting the Southwest Ag Summit from Feb. 24-26. For KAWC, Amanda Solliday stopped by to see the field demonstrations.

University of Arizona professor Ed Franklin teaches agricultural education. He showed students at the ag summit how a solar cell can power a water pump.

“In agriculture, they can use it to provide lighting. We can use it to move water for irrigation," Franklin said. "But probably the biggest example that we can use, the best example for the kids, is pumping water from the ground.”

Because solar energy is now used widely in residential settings and commercially, Franklin would like to see an increase in solar use for agriculture, as well.

Some Arizona farmers already use the technology to create energy needed for irrigation.

“We have producers in certain parts of Arizona that are using pivots for irrigating, so they have very, very large systems that are set up to produce the power to meet the needs of running those pumps,” Franklin said.

He said grants and rebates are available to help growers make the switch from traditional utilities to solar.

But for today, Franklin's goal is to get students excited about careers in agriculture and technology.

Editor's note: Last sentence added for clarity Feb. 26 .