Co-locating crops and solar can increase performance

Co-locating crops and solar can increase performance

Growing commercial crops on solar farms can both increase commercial food production and improve solar panel performance and longevity, according to new Cornell University research published in the journal Applied Energy.

Lead author, Henry Williams, a doctoral student at Cornell said: “We now have, for the first time, a physics-based tool to estimate the costs and benefits of co-locating solar panels and commercial agriculture from the perspective of increased power conversion efficiency and solar-panel longevity.”

Senior author, Max Zhang, professor at the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering added:

“There is potential for agrivoltaic systems – where agriculture and solar panels co-exist – to provide increased passive cooling through taller panel heights, more reflective ground cover and higher evapotranspiration rates compared to traditional solar farms.

“We can generate renewable electricity and conserve farmland through agrivoltaic systems.”

Crops on solar farms

The study references New York as an example where about 40% of utility-scale solar farm capacity has been developed on agricultural lands, while about 84% of land deemed suitable for utility-scale solar development is agricultural, according to a previous research study from Zhang’s group.

Continue reading.

Image by tawatchai07 on Freepik



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