Agrivoltaics is the practice of using land for both solar energy production and crop growth. The practice helps agriculture to flourish in previously underdeveloped spaces, and also benefits the cooling effect of plant life on solar panels.
The research project aims to find ways to use solar sites for the benefit of agriculture by examining crop production and livestock grazing in existing commercial solar farms without significantly altering the operations. The project will consist of three test plots at a utility-scale solar facility owned and operated by The AES Corporation.
This project examines how crop production and grazing can be conducted within existing photovoltaic plants without significant modifications to solar design. In three test plots embedded in a 121 megawatt solar site, the project team will conduct crop trials to understand agrivoltaics’ impact on water usage and crop performance in the arid Southwest while also hosting site visits with local farmers to showcase the potential of agrivoltaics. This research will produce resources and guidelines for farmers across the Western United States, including low-income, tribal, and Hispanic farmers, to increase implementation of agrivoltaics in their communities.
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