Energy Solutions for Farming
By 2030, it is expected that the global demand for electricity will be approximately 30% greater than its current levels and food production will need to double by 2050. As climate change affects the weather cycles that farmers rely on for their crops growing periods, the renewable energy industry is in a unique position to be able to find solutions to both adapt and mitigate that impact. Agrivoltaics presents an opportunity to address both challenges – allowing a multi productive use of land, with clean energy generation alongside agricultural activities.
Agrivoltaics (also known as APV, agrisolar or agri-PV) refers to a multi land-use, combining solar generation with agricultural activities. This includes, but is not limited to grazing, beekeeping, and growing a range of crops between and even under the panels.
There are many different forms of solutions that cater to a variety of agricultural activities; however, the unique characteristics of a site and its local context must always be taken into consideration when identifying the appropriate co-use.
Solar can also be combined with fishery projects allowing the ponds to retain fish production whilst panels are installed above the ponds creating a shelter. Combining aquaculture with solar installed in a floating rig (floating solar) or on structures over ponds is referred to as Aquavoltaics.
Benefits of Multi-Land Use
The benefits can include:
- Diversified income and multi-use of land
- Reduction in perceived land use conflicts
- Panels can provide shelter from heat and rain for small livestock
- Protection of crops from extreme weather events.
Check out the video below to learn more about how agri/aquavoltaic projects can mitigate the challenge of increased energy demand and food production – it’s not a zero sum game.
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