Agrivoltaics is a sustainable farming practice that involves a mutually beneficial relationship between agriculture and solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. The three main benefits of agrivoltaics include improved performance, reduced costs and increased sustainability. By combining food and electricity production, land is used more efficiently to promote plant growth and increase solar photovoltaic performance. For a more in-depth description of agrivoltaics, click the link below.
Ready What is Agrivoltaics?
Benefits of agrivoltaics
The three main benefits of agrivoltaics applications for farmers and agricultural managers, improved performance, reduced costs and increased sustainability, are outlined below:
1. Improved 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. Crops 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.
2. Reduced costs
Solar panels can reduce electricity costs by providing on-site power for irrigation equipment, tractors and other farm equipment. Installation costs are also reduced when solar equipment is installed on farmland because the previously tilled agriculture is usually already appropriately flattened. Costs can also be offset by revenue stream diversification and the ability to grow new product for new markets.
3. Increased sustainability
Agrivoltaics is a sustainable farming practice that uses farm land efficiently and saves water. Shade from solar panels allows for a lower crop water demand. Demonstrating a commitment to sustainability by installing an agrivoltaics application will benefit the planet, your community and your business. It can also fulfill ESG initiatives and likeminded customers, employees and stakeholders to your operation.
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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