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Agri & Gardening agrivoltaics mutually beneficial  food  water and energy | Upload General

Agrivoltaics Mutually Beneficial: Food, Water And Energy

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by: Yvonne Doff
agrivoltaics mutually beneficial  food  water and energy | Upload

Nature Sustainability published a paper about agrivoltaics. The article presents the first field-data evaluation of the results of a multi-year study of agronomy (agrivoltaics) in dry areas led by UA-geographer Greg Barron-Gafford.

Creating resilience in renewable energy and food production is a crucial challenge in today's evolving world, especially in regions that are sensitive to heat and drought. Agrivoltaics, the co-location of agriculture and photovoltaic solar panels, suggests a potential solution. With a new study under the guidance of the University of Arizona, research has shown a positive impact on food production, water-saving and the efficiency of electricity production.

Solar sharing

Agrivoltaics, also referred to as solar sharing, is an idea that has been on the rise in recent years, but few studies have checked all aspects of the associated food, energy and water systems. What should be mentioned is that no research has focused on dry areas or regions. These regions are facing food production problems and water shortages but on the overabundance of solar energy.

"Many of us want more renewable energy, but where do you place all of those panels?

Recommended: Solar Sono Motors Car: Developed in Germany, Made In Sweden

There are a lot of more solar installations now than there was before, but mostly on the edges of the cities", commented Greg Barron-Gafford. Barron-Gafford is an associate professor in the School of Geography and Development and lead author on the paper that was published today in Nature Sustainability.

Solar panels above a agricultural field

Agrivoltaics Mutually Beneficial: Food, Water and Energy

Do we prefer to use the land for food or energy production? Researchers started to ask, "Why not produce both in the same place?" So, that is what happens right now: growing peppers, crops of tomatoes, herbs and kale all in the shadow.

"So what do you prefer for land use: food or energy production? This challenge strikes right at the intersection of human-environment connections, and that is where geographers shine!" said Barron-Gafford, who is also a researcher with Biosphere 2. "We started to ask, 'Why do we nog produce them both in the same place?' And we have been growing crops like tomatoes, peppers, chard, kale, and herbs all in the shadow of the solar panels.

Recommended: Regenerative Agriculture: Its Full Potential (Part 3 of 3)



                                            Agrivoltaics Mutually Beneficial: Food, Water and Energy
                                                                  Biosphere 2 Agrivoltaics


Measure the crops

With the help of photovoltaic solar panels or PV panels and regional vegetables, the team created the first agrivoltaic research location in Biosphere 2. Professors and students measured everything from the moment the plants sprouted to the number of carbon plants they released from the atmosphere and water to their total food production during the entire growing season.

During an average three-month summer growing season, the researchers monitored the incoming light levels, the relative humidity and the air temperature above the soil surface at a depth of 5 centimetres. They focused on chiltepin pepper, cherry tomato plants and jalapeños that were positioned under a PV array. Both the traditional area as the agrivoltaics area got the same daily irrigation.

The researchers discovered that the agrivoltaics system has a significant impact on three factors that affect plant growth and reproduction:

- air temperature
- direct sunlight
- the demand for water

In the agrivoltaic area, the plants were placed in the shadow of the PV-panels. This resulted in cooler daytime temperature opposite to warmer night temperatures. There was also more humidity.

Beneficial for: food, water and energy

They found out that a lot of food crops grow better in the shadow of the solar panels because they cannot get direct sunlight. "The total chiltepin fruit production was three times greater under the PV panels in an agrivoltaics system, and tomato production was twice as high, according to Baron-Gafford. Jalapeños produced a similar amount of fruit in both the agrivoltaics system and the traditional one, but with almost no water loss.

The researchers also discovered that we could support every crop growth for days with the agrivoltaics systems, not just hours in the current traditional plots. We can reduce water use but maintain the level of food production.

There is not only beneficial to the plants but also to energy production: agrivoltaics systems increase the efficiency of energy production. Due to the use of solar panels for cultivating crops, researchers were able to reduce the temperature of the groups.

The researchers say that more research with additional plant species is necessary. They also indicate the impact that agrivoltaic products can have on the physical and social well-being of farmworkers, which has not yet been studied. Preliminary data show that the skin temperature can be about 18 degrees Fahrenheit cooler when working in an agrivoltaic area than in traditional agriculture.

Agrivoltaics, solar panels above the crops

Climate change

There is already a lot of disruption in food production because of climate change. Agrivoltaic systems could help, not only for the crops but also for the farm labour. They work in the heat, which can cause heat strokes. Agrivoltaic systems can help diminish heat and maintain humidity.

Recommended: Climate Change: Water Scarcity, Hunger, Agriculture And Food

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Writer, traveller and dreamer. Love to write, like to travel. Passion for language, cultures and what happens in the world. 

Writer, traveller and dreamer. Love to write, like to travel. Passion for language, cultures and what happens in the world. 

Agrivoltaics Mutually Beneficial: Food, Water And Energy

Nature Sustainability published a paper about agrivoltaics. The article presents the first field-data evaluation of the results of a multi-year study of agronomy (agrivoltaics) in dry areas led by UA-geographer Greg Barron-Gafford. Creating resilience in renewable energy and food production is a crucial challenge in today's evolving world, especially in regions that are sensitive to heat and drought. Agrivoltaics, the co-location of agriculture and photovoltaic solar panels, suggests a potential solution. With a new study under the guidance of the University of Arizona, research has shown a positive impact on food production, water-saving and the efficiency of electricity production. Solar sharing Agrivoltaics, also referred to as solar sharing, is an idea that has been on the rise in recent years, but few studies have checked all aspects of the associated food, energy and water systems. What should be mentioned is that no research has focused on dry areas or regions. These regions are facing food production problems and water shortages but on the overabundance of solar energy. "Many of us want more renewable energy, but where do you place all of those panels? Recommended:  Solar Sono Motors Car: Developed in Germany, Made In Sweden There are a lot of more solar installations now than there was before, but mostly on the edges of the cities", commented Greg Barron-Gafford. Barron-Gafford is an associate professor in the School of Geography and Development and lead author on the paper that was published today in Nature Sustainability. Agrivoltaics Mutually Beneficial: Food, Water and Energy Do we prefer to use the land for food or energy production? Researchers started to ask, "Why not produce both in the same place?" So, that is what happens right now: growing peppers, crops of tomatoes, herbs and kale all in the shadow. "So what do you prefer for land use: food or energy production? This challenge strikes right at the intersection of human-environment connections, and that is where geographers shine!" said Barron-Gafford, who is also a researcher with Biosphere 2. "We started to ask, 'Why do we nog produce them both in the same place?' And we have been growing crops like tomatoes, peppers, chard, kale, and herbs all in the shadow of the solar panels. Recommended:  Regenerative Agriculture: Its Full Potential (Part 3 of 3) {youtube}                                             Agrivoltaics Mutually Beneficial: Food, Water and Energy                                                                   Biosphere 2 Agrivoltaics Measure the crops With the help of photovoltaic solar panels or PV panels and regional vegetables, the team created the first agrivoltaic research location in Biosphere 2. Professors and students measured everything from the moment the plants sprouted to the number of carbon plants they released from the atmosphere and water to their total food production during the entire growing season. During an average three-month summer growing season, the researchers monitored the incoming light levels, the relative humidity and the air temperature above the soil surface at a depth of 5 centimetres. They focused on chiltepin pepper, cherry tomato plants and jalapeños that were positioned under a PV array. Both the traditional area as the agrivoltaics area got the same daily irrigation. The researchers discovered that the agrivoltaics system has a significant impact on three factors that affect plant growth and reproduction: - air temperature - direct sunlight - the demand for water In the agrivoltaic area, the plants were placed in the shadow of the PV-panels. This resulted in cooler daytime temperature opposite to warmer night temperatures. There was also more humidity. Beneficial for: food, water and energy They found out that a lot of food crops grow better in the shadow of the solar panels because they cannot get direct sunlight. "The total chiltepin fruit production was three times greater under the PV panels in an agrivoltaics system, and tomato production was twice as high, according to Baron-Gafford. Jalapeños produced a similar amount of fruit in both the agrivoltaics system and the traditional one, but with almost no water loss. The researchers also discovered that we could support every crop growth for days with the agrivoltaics systems, not just hours in the current traditional plots. We can reduce water use but maintain the level of food production. There is not only beneficial to the plants but also to energy production: agrivoltaics systems increase the efficiency of energy production. Due to the use of solar panels for cultivating crops, researchers were able to reduce the temperature of the groups. The researchers say that more research with additional plant species is necessary. They also indicate the impact that agrivoltaic products can have on the physical and social well-being of farmworkers, which has not yet been studied. Preliminary data show that the skin temperature can be about 18 degrees Fahrenheit cooler when working in an agrivoltaic area than in traditional agriculture. Climate change There is already a lot of disruption in food production because of climate change. Agrivoltaic systems could help, not only for the crops but also for the farm labour. They work in the heat, which can cause heat strokes. Agrivoltaic systems can help diminish heat and maintain humidity. Recommended:  Climate Change: Water Scarcity, Hunger, Agriculture And Food
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