An increasing number of agricultural businesses and farms are considering solar as a means to power their day-to-day operations. Thanks partially to the SETO (Solar Energy Technologies Office’s) investments, the price of implementing solar has declined, allowing more installations around the country. Consider the following insight to assist you in determining if this option could be a good fit for you and your farm.
Advantages of co-locating solar & crop production
There are various advantages of co-locating solar & crop production for farmers and solar energy developers.
Advantages to solar developers include:
● Decreased installation expenses – The usage of already tilled land might prevent the necessity for costly grading that is often required for panel installation.
● Decreased upfront risk – Geotechnical risks may boost the price of solar installation because of increased testing requirements. Previously tilled land was marked as the “least risk option” within a sequence of surveys with solar installers.
● Decreased legal risk – In utilizing previously disturbed agricultural land, solar installers may decrease the risk of upfront litigation within the environmental assessment process.
● Possibly increase PV performance – Vegetation beneth modules may increase solar performance and contribute to lower soil temperatures.
Advantages to agricultural land managers include:
● Marketing opportunity to sustainability-mindful audience
● Decreased electricity expenses
● Revenue stream diversification
● Increased capability of installing shade- resistant, high-value crops for brand-new markets
● Capability of maintaining crop production within solar generation
● Permit nutrient and land recharge of degraded agricultural lands.
● Possibility for water usage reduction
● Possibility to prolong growing seasons
Will solar modules dry out and heat up crops or vegetation under these modules?
Solar modules actually will cool vegetation and crops situated below them during the daytime since they offer shading. They have the ability to keep plants warmer in the evening. Research has proven that those temperature variances cancel out and that means day-to-day crop temperatures were similar underneath modules, as compared with full sun crops and there wasn’t any impact on rates of crop growth. Modules may give farmers the capability of growing shade-tolerant crops and diversify crop selection, while simultaneously prolonging growing seasons and decreasing water requirements. A study discovered that shading from solar modules generated lettuce crop weight that was equal to or greater than lettuce that was grown in full sun.
Have questions about solar panels for farms and agriculture use? Our Solar Division at Tri-State Electrical can hope you understand today’s options and even develop a custom configuration to suit your specific needs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.