Optimize the use of land suitable for both agriculture and solar photovoltaic power generation by integrating them simultaneously.
Agrivoltaics, also known as dual-use solar, integrates solar photovoltaic power (PV) generation and agriculture on the same parcel of land, often by growing crops beneath solar panels. The concept was developed in Europe, where open space is at a premium. Land that is optimal for agriculture is often also optimal for solar arrays, which can lead to competition that slows or halts renewable energy development. Agrivoltaics is a way to do both. It is estimated that if 1 percent of farmland was used for agrivoltaics in the United States, national renewable energy targets could be met. The same goes for Europe. The benefits of agrivoltaics include increasing land use efficiency, making solar installations more amenable to local communities, and providing a cooler environment for the solar panels, which increases their efficiency. The panels can also provide shade for plants and animals, which helps them handle rising temperatures due to global warming. Taken together, agrivoltaics is emerging as an innovative solution.