Agrivoltaics Study Shows Mutual Benefits across Food, Water, Energy Nexus
A study led by the University of Arizona and published in Nature Sustainability presents the first field-data assessment of outcomes of a multi-year study of agrivoltaics in dryland regions. Agrivoltaics is the co-locating of agriculture and solar photovoltaic panels. The study’s agrivoltaics research site grew chiltepin pepper, jalapeno, and cherry tomato plants under a PV array. Researchers found that shade provided by the PV panels resulted in cooler daytime temperatures and warmer nighttime temperatures, as well as moister air than the traditional, open-sky planting system. Chiltepin and tomato production were greater under the panels, and jalapeno production was equal but used less water. In addition, having plants under the panels reduced their operating temperature and made them more efficient. Researchers note that panel shade also created a cooler working environment for farm laborers.