You may have lately come across the term Agrivoltaics on the internet if not, you have landed on the right page because this blog will give you information on what is Agrivoltaic technology and how it may improve the farming business. However, agrivoltaics must overcome several difficult obstacles before becoming widely used. This article highlights some of the existing Agrivoltaics disadvantages.
What is Agrivoltaic Technology?
Agrivoltaic technology generates electricity in the same way that traditional photovoltaic systems do. However, in order to allow dual land use, agrivoltaic systems must meet specific technical and structural requirements.
- Technologies based on modules: Module technologies that allow the light spectrum required for plant growth to pass is of special importance in agriculture. For example organic photovoltaics module technology and semi-transparent module technology.
- Light control: The most difficult part about constructing an agrivoltaic system is balancing electricity generation and agricultural yields.
What are Agrivoltaics Disadvantages?
Agrivoltaic technology is increasingly becoming a part of the farming culture, but before indulging in this technology there are certain disadvantages of this technology you should know about. 5 major agrivoltaics disadvantages are-
1. Crop Cycle is Necessary for Agrivoltaic System
If the same agricultural plantation is maintained for several years, it will have an impact on that section of the field. This is why crop rotation is such an important component of agrivoltaics. This is one of the biggest agrivoltaics disadvantages.
2. Ongoing Expenses May Necessitate Extensive Government Intervention
Maintenance of electricity infrastructure, for example, would be a new and costly consideration for farmers. Furthermore, the possibility of farm machinery harming solar arrays would have an impact on insurance prices.
3. Not Possible to Completely Avoid Agricultural Land Loss
Because it competes with agricultural land and forces the energy and food industries against each other, land loss is the most major hindrance to solar power. However, research has shown that farming improves the efficiency of solar panels. Regardless of the layout, some agricultural land will always be lost in an agrivoltaic setup. The quantity of loss is crop-specific and relies on the panel equipment. Nonetheless, the number of situations in which agrivoltaics may meet the agricultural output of a regular farm appears to be restricted.
4. Complex Operations Necessitate Higher Labor Costs
Agrivoltaics necessitates technical expertise that most farmers lack. It may be difficult for them to repair anything that breaks, necessitating the hiring of professionals. Many people may find professional labor expenses prohibitively expensive as a result of this. Even for less high-tech dual-use models, such as utilizing sheep with classic solar arrays, a scarcity of available shepherds and high minimum wage restrictions make profiting in a free market nearly difficult.
5. In Very Limited Circumstances, Agrivoltaics Outperforms Traditional Systems
The perfect conditions for agrivoltaics appear to be restricted. Some plants, such as lettuce, spinach, and tomatoes, may survive in the shade. However, as one study points out, we have a limited understanding of most staple crops’ resistance to shade. The staple crops for which we do have data aren’t looking bright. Corn and wheat, for example, are vast crops in the United States, and shade severely limits their development. A huge population cannot be fed by lettuce and other dependable agrivoltaic crops. After learning agrivoltaics disadvantages, let’s learn about the advantages of this technology.
What are Agrivoltaics Advantages?
After learning about agrivoltaics disadvantages, The advantages of agrivoltaics advantages are-
1. Enhances Land Productivity
Assume you have a farm where you cultivate wheat and your land productivity is 100%. Then you add a solar system to the equation. The best part is that you can do so without reducing agricultural yield. In essence, you’re boosting the entire productivity of your property by harvesting food and energy.
2. Water Consumption Reduction
Water is required for plants to prepare their nourishment. According to the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA ERS), irrigation uses 42% of fresh water annually. Plants in an agrivoltaic system are shaded by the PV modules (outside of peak daylight hours), and as a result, the rate of transpiration is delayed.
3. Increased Solar PV Power Output
Temperature losses have a negative impact on solar PV modules. At 77 degrees Fahrenheit, they produce the most power (25 degrees Celcius). Power decreases as the temperature rises. Plants growing beneath PV modules contribute to a 3 to 4-degree Fahrenheit reduction in ambient temperature.
4. Health Improvements for Farmers
Farming in hot, sunny weather can be dangerous to a farmer’s health. Heatstroke and skin cancer are two very real concerns for folks who work hard for months in hot, sunny weather. Fortunately, solar modules provide plenty of shade for farmers to work in, providing much-needed relief from the scorching sun.
5. Financial Gain
Agrivoltaics has larger profit margins than other solar technologies. Commercial advantages include good crops and energy gathering from the same site. Solar energy meets the needs of both households and farms. Set up a grid-tied solar system to transfer excess solar energy to the grid. After this, let’s learn how does Agrivoltaics work.
How Does Agrivoltaics Work?
After learning about agrivoltaics disadvantages, you must be curious to know how does Agrivoltaics work? An agrivoltaic solar system typically comprises ground-mounted solar arrays with crops grown beneath or between the rows of solar panels. The panels can be mounted on mounts that are tall enough to allow farming equipment to pass underneath.
1. Requirement for Direct Solar Irradiation
To perform photosynthesis, almost every crop requires three elements: direct sun irradiation, water, and carbon dioxide. Some crops, however, require more or fewer of these elements than others. Plants requiring more sunshine will be unable to grow beneath PV modules (rice, wheat, etc.) In this case, it’s better to pick plants that grow in partial shade.
2. Crop Response to Excessive Solar Irradiation
Plants absorb sunlight and turn it into chlorophyll and carotenoids, which aid in the production of food. The crop, however, will suffer if the amount of sunshine they receive surpasses its light saturation point.
Farmers’ solution to this challenge was to produce artificial shade in order to protect and thereby optimize the quality of their crops. Solar modules in agrivoltaics serve a similar purpose: they throw a shadow on crops, encouraging growth. After this, let’s learn what is agrivoltaic farming.
What is Agrivoltaic Farming? What are Some Agrivoltaic Crops?
Growing crops beneath solar panels are referred to as agrivoltaic farming. According to scientific investigations, several crops thrive when planted in this manner. In this way, doubling land use might help feed the world’s rising population while also producing renewable energy.
Some agrivoltaic crops that researchers successfully grew are aloe vera, tomatoes, biogas maize, pasture grass, and lettuce. Some lettuce varieties yield more in the shadow than in broad sunlight; other varieties offer about the same yield under an open sky and under PV panels. PV projects associated with agriculture have thus far demonstrated the greatest promise when combined with leafy greens like lettuce and spinach, as well as root crops like potatoes, radishes, beets, and carrots as Agrivoltaic crops.
Pasture grasses and barley have done exceptionally well in Oregon. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and lingonberries may also produce high yields and surely make it to the Agrivoltaic crops list.
Also Read: What is Renewable Energy Certificate?
What Does the Term Agrivoltaic Systems Mean?
The agrivoltaic system is distinguished by the simultaneous production of solar power and agricultural produce on the same land. Solar panels and crops coexist by sharing light so that panels positioned above a portion of the crop provide shadow and form a kind of microclimate over the growing region. As a result, there is greater freshness, which means less water requirement for the plants, but also lower evaporation losses.
Developers of agrivoltaic systems have recently highlighted the benefits for farmers, including protection against hazards and climate disturbances. Even in the absence of irrigation needs (as in a very rainy season), solar panels generate energy, opening up significant opportunities to power agricultural equipment, mills, water purifiers, and cold storage units with this energy, all of which contribute to rural development and increased revenues. In some situations, solar electricity can also be considered a “remunerative harvest” if farmers are motivated to avoid excessive water use by selling the excess energy to the power grid.
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What is Agrivoltaics Greenhouse Relationship?
Greenhouse technology is a method of providing plants with suitable environmental conditions by growing them in a greenhouse, which is a structure with walls and a roof primarily constructed of transparent material, such as glass. It can however be used in solar technology and one such dimension of it is in the form of agrivoltaics greenhouse and its value to the environment.
The advantage of Agrivoltaics greenhouse is that it protects against extreme temperatures (frost or heat wave): in greenhouses with or without temperature control, with or without bleaching; in open fields with a reduction in temperature amplitudes due to shading in high temperatures or a greenhouse effect in frost. The technology also protects against hail in closed greenhouses with roofs, open fields with arrangement systems, or by deploying automatic safety nets incorporated into the structure. Other benefits include reduced water use due to reduced plant evapotranspiration caused by crop shading and increased agricultural production. Another advantage is solar-powered irrigation.
This revolutionary Agrivoltaics greenhouse technology has the potential to boost food production and minimize water consumption while simultaneously producing electricity and additional cash. Solar panels placed on the same ground where crops are grown essentially allow growers to harvest the power of the sun twice.
Also Read: What is Potential Induced Degradation?
What is Agrivoltaics Cost on an Average? Is Agrivoltaics Profitable?
Agrivoltaics is increasingly gaining popularity around the world. So, let’s see how much Agrivoltaics cost would for system installation.
The price of agrivoltaic systems located at a high distance from the ground (which is required to allow agricultural machinery to operate under the solar panels) is considerably higher than for traditional solar plants. The experts have calculated Agrivoltaics cost for a full plant construction, including the foundations, would cost around $435/kW. (approx).
Mounting solutions are projected to cost between $140 and $240 per kW (approx), while very clear modules could cost up to $330 per kW. The cost of site preparation and component deployment ranges from $270 to $380 per kW (approx).
If you are confused is Agrivoltaics profitable or not, then yes, it’s profitable. At once it may seem that Agrivoltaic project developers face many expenses throughout the approval procedure including location identification, soil and environmental reports, development plans, and various types of legal fees. But once the systems are accurately installed it is safe to say that yes it can be profitable in long run. After this, let’s learn about agrivoltaics in India.
Is there an Availability of Agrivoltaics in India?
Because renewable energy and ground-based PV installation required land, agrivoltaics began in India. Because land is a precious commodity, there is some competition for it between the RE and infrastructure industries. The agricultural community will suffer if RE capacity is enhanced at the expense of agricultural production.
According to a new analysis from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, agrivoltaics might become a major new renewable energy market in India provided the right policy framework is put in place.
Measures to protect rural communities and agricultural productivity should be a crucial component of the sector’s policy and regulatory reforms. Agrivoltaics is the integration of farming with solar production in methods that keep agricultural productivity high. Because agriculture covers approximately 60% of India’s land area, agrivoltaics are theoretically better positioned in India than in most other countries.
Agrivoltaics could help India speed up its renewable energy rollout by distributing it around the country. Research has shown that certain crops can handle modest shadowing and, in excessive heat, some may even benefit from lower temperatures and improved soil moisture. With nearly 20 projects currently underway utilizing a variety of panel configurations, India has already begun to establish the specific methods, crops, and conditions that work best, also numerous policy challenges must be addressed if the agrivoltaics sector is to reach its full potential. Some of the larger Agrivoltaics projects may appear in 2023. Gro Solar Energy, a Maharashtra-based company, has already been commissioned for a 7MW AC Solar Energy Project at Degaon in the Sindakhede Tahsil of Maharashtra’s Dhule District.
With this, you have gotten all the info about agrivoltaics working, agrivoltaics disadvantages and advantages, what is Agrivoltaic farming, etc. Farming is the basis of any civilization as without food and food producers, it’s nearly impossible for this world to survive. With the changing time, a lot of not and better trends and technologies are appearing in the agricultural field and you must try to learn about these things.
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