Agrivoltaic farming — a key piece of the regenerative agriculture movement — is getting more attention recently, with web searches for both agrivoltaic farming and regenerative agriculture up significantly in the past two years, more than 500 percent in the case of regenerative agriculture.
The trend is likely to continue, with the trend tracking enterprise Exploding Topics showing searches for regenerative agriculture have increased by 658% over the last five years.
What is agrivoltaic farming? It’s an effort to use land to more efficiently generate both energy and food, while conserving water. Keep in mind: 85% of global water consumption is used for irrigation, and over one-third of all greenhouse gases are attributed to agriculture.
Agrivoltaic farming positions solar panels to allow plants just the right amount of sunlight — and not more — limiting their water use and allowing the extra sunlight to be transformed into clean energy.
According to Oregon State University, agrivoltaics is a symbiotic relationship where both the solar panels and the crops benefit because they help each other perform better.
Here are some agrivoltaic farming success stories:
- Daghio Solar Farm in Thailand: This agrivoltaic farm in northern Thailand combines a large-scale solar energy system with a farm for growing vegetables and fruits. The project has been successful in providing clean energy to the local community while also increasing crop yields and improving soil health.
- Econoler in Quebec, Canada: Econoler is a company that specializes in agrivoltaic solutions and has helped farmers in Quebec to install solar panels over their fields while maintaining their ability to grow crops. This has provided farmers with an additional source of income while also reducing their energy costs and reducing their carbon footprint.
- Projet Eole in France: This agrivoltaic project in France combines solar energy with vineyard production. The project has been successful in providing clean energy to the local community while also improving the quality of the grapes and the wine produced by the vineyard.
- AgriPV in the Netherlands: AgriPV is a Dutch company that provides agrivoltaic solutions to farmers in the Netherlands. The company has helped farmers to install solar panels over their fields while maintaining their ability to grow crops, which has provided them with an additional source of income and reduced their energy costs.
These are just a few examples of successful agrivoltaic projects around the world. The field of agrivoltaics is rapidly growing, and there are many more projects underway that are working to combine solar energy and agriculture in new and innovative ways.