Agrivoltaics: A smart mix of agriculture and solar power generation

Agrivoltaics can be defined as a flawless combination of solar panels and plants on farmland. This novel approach involves integration of solar generation into land already in use. In other words, crops are combined with photovoltaic panels, installed with sufficient height to allow farm equipment to pass underneath.

Lowers Carbon Footprint

This new system can help reduce the amount of GHG emissions within the agricultural sector. Using land for both solar photovoltaic power and farming could provide close to one-fifth of total electricity generation in the US, said a recent research by Oregon State University, adding large-scale installation of agrivoltaic systems may lead to a yearly reduction of over 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions in the North American nation while “minimally” impacting production.

Leveraging Agrivoltaics for Irrigation

The role of solar power cannot be underestimated when it comes to irrigating fields. To facilitate proper irrigation in fields, energy is an indispensable input. However, access to such energy can prove challenging in countryside areas where there is no reliable access to an electricity grid or where fuel is relatively expensive.

To supply large and small-scale farmers with the energy they require to operate their irrigation systems, agrivoltaic systems are becoming an increasingly feasible and advantageous option as they provide reliable, affordable, flexible, and clean energy, which can potentially reduce irrigation energy costs.

Agrivoltaics and Desertification

Agrivoltaics (AV) is also beginning to demonstrate its potential in mitigating the detrimental effects of desertification – a process by which either natural or human factors lower the biological productivity of drylands.

To conclude, the novel concept of agrivoltaics has the potential to provide answers to a number of issues in agriculture from optimum utilisation of scarce resources to reducing GHG emissions.