Agrivoltaics is a sustainable farming practice that involves a mutually beneficial relationship between agriculture and solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. The two main benefits of agrivoltaics for solar developers include reduced installation cost & risk and increased system performance. The combination of food and electricity production promotes plant growth and uses croplands more efficiently. To read more about agrivoltaics, click the link below.
Benefits of agrivoltaics for solar developers
The two main benefits of agrivoltaics for solar developers, reduced installation cost & risk and increased system performance, are outlined below:
1. Reduced installation cost and risk
Farmland used for both solar and food production allows for reduced installation cost and risk for solar developers. Previously tilled farm land can circumvent the need to flatten land for solar panel installation, saving developers money. Since this land is already in use, testing to see if it can be the site of a solar installation can be circumvented as well, again saving developers money.
Both legal and upfront risks are lower on farmland. During a series of surveys with solar installers, “perviously tilled agricultural land” was identified as the least risk option. Installing solar panels on this land reduces legal risk during the environmental review process as well.
2. Increased system performance
In agrivoltaics applications, both the solar PV panel and plant growth are improved. According to Oregon State University, panels positioned above plants produce up to 10% more electricity, because plants help keep the solar panels cool and can contribute to lower soil temperatures. Crops or any vegetation underneath solar PV panels also grow more efficiently, as they receive just the right amount of sunlight. Excess sunlight won’t increase photosynthesis or help the plant grow. Instead, it will increase the plant’s water demand.
Check out these resources if you would like to learn more about the benefits of agrivoltaics:
- Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar
- DOE/ NREL’s InSPIRE projects researching solar development with agriculture and native landscapes
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If you are interested in implementing renewable or energy efficiency systems on your farmland or at your facility, parter with EnergyLink. EnergyLink is a national certified ESCO that designs projects for commercial and industrial organizations and offers a variety of financial modeling and project funding opportunities. We will be your partner throughout each state of your projects. Click the link below to get started or dial (866) 218-0380 to speak with a team member directly.