Farms and agricultural businesses are increasingly turning to solar power to run their businesses. The cost of going solar has decreased due to investments made by the Solar Energy Technologies Office. This has allowed for more installations across the country.
Could solar power and crop cultivation be integrated in a mutually beneficial way? Do solar farms work or not?
What Is Agrivoltaics?
While a solar farm is a huge land set up with solar panels to produce energy, Agrivoltaics is when you use an area of land for solar power generation and agriculture simultaneously. In the last few years, PV technology has grown tremendously. A wide range of social actors, including businesses, households, and cities, recognized the environmental necessity and financial benefits and implemented it in their ways. It also occurred in farming. A debate erupted when the concept of solar farms was first floated.
The Impact of Solar Power on Conventional Farming
Fields of hundreds or thousands of solar panels facing the sun are known as solar farms. Instead of planting crops like potatoes, tomatoes, or beans, solar panels cover the land, generating electricity as they do so.
Traditional farming is a risky endeavor because one is heavily dependent on the weather. There are no extreme storms or strong winds if there is just the right amount of sunshine and rain. As a result, the thought of not having to be concerned about any of these external factors while still earning money is both uplifting and a little unbelievable. Therefore, solar farms have discovered a new market: agrivoltaics (or, in other words, APV). It’s a fantastic idea for both agribusiness and society in an environmentally-conscious world.
However, this might not have happened if traditional farming had not failed.
As solar system installation costs have dropped by more than half since 2010, solar farming has taken off. Karlee Weinmann, an ILSR researcher, spoke with Digital Journal about the current state of American farmers and their decision to replace crops with solar arrays. He said that because farmers are getting older or because it’s easier and more profitable, they are increasingly turning to solar power to replace crops.
The Future of Solar Farming
Researchers from France found that agrivoltaic systems have the potential to be highly efficient. As a result, a rise in global land productivity of 35% to 73% is possible.
Farming and photovoltaics (PV) can coexist, according to the study. As well as making it easier for farmers to sell their land, it also increases their income.
The final point is worth reiterating for clarity’s sake. The fact that farmers can count on a steady income and a stress-free way of life as a major incentive to switch to solar farming has already been touched upon. Although natural conditions are incompatible with the needs of cultivated cultures, researchers at Fraunhofer Institute discovered that PV installation could work in conjunction with traditional farming and generate income.
Agrophotovoltaics, on the other hand, is a new method of integrating solar power with traditional farming. It’s still a work in progress, but today it’s clear that solar farming in its truest form has the potential to benefit society and business in ways that have never been possible before.