Agrivoltaics Offer Promise of More Food, More Energy, Less Emissions

Oregon State University researchers published a study in the journal Sustainability that shows the potential for widespread application of agrivoltaic systems to provide energy, food, and jobs in rural communities. The researchers say that co-developing land for both solar photovoltaic power and agriculture could provide 20% of total electricity generation in the United States with an investment of less than 1% of the annual U.S. budget. The study showed that wide-scale installation of agrivoltaic systems could lead to an annual reduction of 330,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States and the creation of more than 100,000 jobs in rural communities, while only minimally impacting crop yield. Chad Higgins, lead author of the study, will next lead installation of a fully functional solar farm designed to prioritize agricultural activities on five acres of Oregon State’s North Willamette Research and Extension Station in Aurora.