As we move towards a clean energy future for the United States, it will be necessary to significantly scale up the deployment of solar energy systems across the country. Doing so will require the installation of a huge number of solar PV panels—and this will require plenty of suitable land to house the panels. While some may be concerned about altering our landscape with the construction of solar farms, it’s becoming clear that solar and agriculture can coexist in harmony. In fact, we even have the term ‘agrivoltaics’ to describe the integration of solar power alongside traditional agricultural practices such as crop cultivation.
What is Agrivoltaics?
The term agrivoltaics refers to the co-location of solar and agriculture, leading to the integration of solar energy systems and traditional agricultural practices to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship between solar and farming, wherein more solar PV can be deployed without impacting crop cultivation, grazing, or pollinator planting.
How Does it Work?
Solar panels and crops share the land, supporting one another in a mutually beneficial relationship. Plants which are shaded under solar panels require less water, making for a more efficient crop yield, while solar panels which are cooled by the plants underneath capture more energy from the sun, resulting in more efficient power generation. Working together, each component improves the performance of the other.
The Benefits of Agrivoltaics for Farmers
The co-location of solar and agriculture is mutually beneficial for both farmers and solar developers, as well as the site on which the solar project is located. Some of the key benefits of agrivoltaics include:
Water Conservation: With agrivoltaics, less water is required for certain plants to produce an equal, or even greater, yield than before. Native plantings increase water retention, so less water runoff occurs.
Crop Yields: In arid regions, certain plants will produce a greater yield when grown under solar panels.
Habitat: Local ecosystems benefit from the planting of local plants, as more birds, insects, and wildlife will be attracted to the location.
Soil: Native plants with deep roots, alongside plant biodiversity, lead to stabilization of soil and increased carbon sequestration.
Crop Protection: Solar panels offer crops better protection from inclement weather conditions such as hail and high winds, reducing the risk of crop destruction.
Economic Opportunities: Farmers and landowners can profit from solar land leases, allowing them to support their families and sustain their agricultural businesses.
Why Farmers are Going Solar
Annual income from agricultural work can be extremely unpredictable, and farmers are always striving to make their farming systems more efficient and sustainable. With a solar land lease, farmers can get more out of their land, guaranteeing a stable, consistent income stream for the length of the solar land lease—typically around 25 years—and making sure that their farm is still generating income even during more fallow periods. With renewable energy set for exponential growth in the coming years, developers will be seeking suitable land to house new solar projects, putting farmers and other landowners in an ideal position to take advantage of this surging demand. YSG Solar is currently seeking land for solar farm development in the following states:
If you are a landowner with a suitable parcel in any of the above states, you could be ideally positioned to generate extra income from your unused land. Reach out to YSG Solar today to find out whether or not your land is suitable for a solar farm project. Call the office at 212.389.9215 or send us an email to learn more about the process of leasing your land for solar and how much you could expect to earn from a solar land lease.
YSG Solar is a project development company responsible for commoditizing energy infrastructure projects. We work with long-term owners and operators to provide clean energy assets with stable, predictable cash flows. YSG's market focus is distributed generation and utility-scale projects located within North America.
Featured Photo from Tom Fisk on Pexels