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  • Tyler Lloyd

Growing Crops Under Solar Panels?

How agrivoltaics, a term that has yet to be entered into the dictionary, has merged two industries to provide dual land use for farmers!

Agrivoltaics provides dual land use for farmers who seek to grow crops or graze livestock beneath solar panel arrays! These arrays must be constructed in a manner that is appropriate for the agricultural operations of the land which it is being installed on in order to avoid wasting valuable space that the farmer could be using for their operations. The system must have dimensions large enough to allow for the equipment, livestock, and people to underneath the array. Specific shade tolerant crops must be grown beneath the array in order to ensure an optimal result in the yield of plants growing beneath the solar panels which shade it. Most of these agrivoltaic systems also utilize bifacial solar panel technology. Bifacial solar panels have solar cells on the front side and the back side of the panels, allowing for up to 30% extra power to be produced from the albedo radiation from the sun which strikes the ground and plants beneath the solar array and bounces back up to the backside of the panels.


Current solar racking systems (support systems that hold the panels) do not allow for the optimization of the power output for bifacial solar technology, or the requirements to allow for standard agricultural equipment to operate underneath the racking, which results in excessive land competition or wasted space that the farmers could use. Midwest Agrivoltaic Systems is innovating a unique racking system called AgRack which would allow for modern agriculture to occur on the same land that an optimized PV array operates. Our system's spacing is large enough, wide enough, and tall enough to allow for a full photovoltaic array to be erected over existing agricultural land without inhibiting the farmers current operations. Depending on the state you live in, power from the solar PV system can be sold back to the electric company or directly to end users of the power.


Are you interested in learning more about agrivoltaics, or have a potential project that you would like to have a professional go over to see if this type of system makes sense for you? Contact us via our website agvolts.com, or send an email to contact@agvolts.com.


We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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