The Best Plants for Agrivotaics
(Photo by Mel Elías on Unsplash)
Agrivoltaics, also known as agrophotovoltaics, is the practice of combining agriculture with solar energy production by installing solar panels above or adjacent to crops. The selection of crops for agrivoltaic systems depends on several factors, including the climate, soil type, sunlight exposure, and the economic viability of the crops. Here are some crops that are considered to be well-suited for agrivoltaic systems:
Berry Crops: Berry crops, such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, are often grown in areas with high sun exposure, making them good candidates for agrivoltaic systems. Additionally, they are typically low-growing and can be easily harvested without damaging the solar panels.
Leafy Greens: Leafy greens, such as lettuce and spinach, can be grown in shaded areas below solar panels, where the reduced sunlight can help prevent the plants from bolting and prolong the growing season.
Specialty Crops: Specialty crops, such as herbs and medicinal plants, can be grown in shaded areas beneath solar panels. These crops typically require less sunlight than traditional crops and can be more profitable per square foot.
Low-Growing Crops: Low-growing crops, such as peas and beans, can be grown in shaded areas beneath solar panels. These crops are often able to thrive in cooler temperatures and can be planted early in the season.
Crops with High Economic Value: Finally, crops with high economic value, such as vineyards and orchards, can also be grown in agrivoltaic systems. While these crops typically require more space and sunlight than other crops, the economic benefits can outweigh the added costs of the solar panels.
The best crops for agrivoltaic systems are those that are well-suited to the local climate, soil type, and sunlight exposure. Additionally, crops with high economic value and those that can thrive in shaded areas are often good candidates for agrivoltaic systems.