Our 2020 feed starts with a Solar Hybrid solution called Agrivoltaics or AgroPhotovoltaics. This is an approach to install solar PV panels at farms. The panels are mounted above the crops “at a certain height” and “with gaps between the solar modules for photosynthesis”.
This would lead to “higher revenue” for farmers & one of the solutions to “high land-usage footprint” of solar energy. Many believe that the PV energy sector has become a threat to farming communities due to land-use footprint. That’s only when the choice is between raising crops or livestock and carpeting the land with solar panels. What if you could mix the 2 worlds ???
It gets even more interesting, as an experiment conducted by Fraunhofer ISE near Lake Constance in Germany shows that the combination of farming and solar power is 186% more efficient. In addition to this, a research from University of Arizona also shows that shaded plants under solar panels, cool the back of panels & therefore increasing its power generation efficiency.
There are a lot of agricultural lands in the world and if solar PVs are installed on ONLY 1% of agricultural lands globally, it will be sufficient to supply global electricity demand (Solar PV Power Potential is Greatest Over Croplands, 2019). Although 30 years old, there is still a huge scope for technical and optimization developments in this field of technology. Agrivoltaics could be a key piece in the puzzle of local food & energy security together with zero carbon farming. If so governments need to pay attention to their subsidy policies to help this sector to go renewable.