Q1 2021: Agri-PV

Solar PV could disrupt the fossil fuel industry and help with two of the biggest sustainability challenges of our times: biodiversity loss and food production. In Q1 2021, pv magazine’s UP initiative will shine a spotlight on agrivoltaics – the combination of agriculture and solar energy – in recognition of this emerging market. The goal is to understand the potential benefits, and economic, political and technical challenges of such an innovative partnership.

pv magazine 12/2020

A unique position: Presentation of the quarterly theme

pv magazine 01/2021

Building PV for the future: Financiers and investors have always understood that PV power plants play a more prominent role than just generating profits – they also produce electricity without emitting carbon. Lately, the sector is discovering that PV can fulfill a much larger range of environmental functions – improving biodiversity, removing carbon from enriched soils, and producing food in an environmentally sustainable way.

Orchardvoltaics – it’s just ripe: How do you feed a growing population with limited agricultural space, and ensure that the global trend of smashed avocado toast lives on? In Israel, Doral Energy is facing this question head on with its innovative agri-PV concept, ‘orchardvoltaics’, which purportedly boosts farmers’ profits, increases crop yields, and helps realize ambitious renewable energy goals.

PV in the water-energy-food nexus: Sector coupling may be somewhat of a buzzword, but it also points to opportunities for PV beyond the power markets, which may quickly reach limitations during peak hours of irradiation. Combined energy, food and clean water production presents one such opportunity, with benefits for developers, utilities and communities.

pv magazine 02/2021

Solar’s flexibility can be agriculture’s gain: Both solar and the farming industry are beginning to see potential in the combined use of land for food production and energy generation. And as innovators begin to experiment with different forms, it’s becoming clear that in most cases it is solar that will have to bend to the needs of agriculture, and not the other way around, to ensure a positive outcome.

An inclusive, rural European Green Deal through agrisolar: Combinations of sustainable agriculture with solar PV systems have immense potential in the EU, writes Miguel Herrero, policy adviser at SolarPower Europe, and the coordinator of the organization’s agrisolar workstream. According to SolarPower Europe’s most recent policy briefing, if agrisolar is deployed on just 1% of arable land, it could deliver more than 700 GW of technical capacity, amounting to more than 25% of the EU’s current electricity consumption. If the EU taps this potential, it could lead the world in this efficient global solar PV innovation.

pv magazine 03/2021

An endless appetite for PV: With growing demand for healthy fruit and vegetables, both plastic and glass greenhouses are increasingly supplying Chinese tables. Rene Moerman, the founder of China-based Xilia, toured a number of sites where solar PV has been integrated into greenhouses.

Raspberry PV protects the crop and avoids waste: An agrivoltaic project in the Netherlands demonstrates the compatibility of solar PV power generation and raspberry cultivation. The solar roof protects the plants, saves the farmers work, and only has a minimal impact on the harvest.

Agrivoltaics: Where are we heading?: The complexity of agrivoltaics is not rocket science, but rather lies in the field’s various interdisciplinary challenges, says Max Trommsdorff, head of group agrivoltaics at Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. Should agrivoltaics be deployed with interspace cropping, or should we use stilted PV systems that allow for cultivation below? And can the sector flourish without regulation?

Back to the UP Initiative feature page

This page was last updated on March 10, 2021.