19 OCTOBER 2022

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Agrovoltaics, what are its advantages? What types can we find?

Agrovoltaics

High energy costs are giving rise to new methods of mitigating this global problem, such as agrovoltaics, which has many positive effects in the fight against climate change.

Shading structures are becoming a necessity when the sun is too strong. In addition, rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall are changing agriculture and land use. Faced with this situation… It is time to say yes to agrovoltaics!

Agrovoltaics is the combination of agricultural land with photovoltaic systems. The aim is that both systems benefit from the advantages offered by each other, both the soil and the photovoltaic modules.

 

Advantages of developing agrovoltaic projects:

  • It allows us to make the most of solar energy: according to studies, if only 1% of arable land were dedicated to the production of solar electricity, it would be enough to compensate for the world’s energy demand.
  • Increases crop improvement: Agrovoltaic modules can act as a barrier against excessive solar radiation, heat, drought… which means protection for crops. The shade generated by the modules means that the soil retains humidity for longer.
  • It generates a positive impact on the environment: agrovoltaics enables the generation of electricity and promotes greater development in rural areas, and it should also be noted that in Spain we have large areas of agricultural land. In addition, this technique favours the enrichment of the area thanks to the economic activity around it (access, construction…).

 

Types of agrovoltaics that can be found:

Since every soil is different, agrovoltaics cannot be implemented in the same way. In this case, the most important factor to take into account is the inclination of the photovoltaic modules. There are three main types:

  • Solar panels elevated in the air: located at a height of about 2-3 metres, they allow for the development of agri-energy while at the same time producing energy.
  • Ground-mounted photovoltaic modules: where the agricultural soil is used in the corridors left by the solar panels and underneath them.
  • Agrovoltaics in greenhouses: plastic is replaced in favour of structures that allow energy to be fed into the grid.

 

Agrovoltaics is a business opportunity, and although it is not very widespread in Spain, we can find some pilot projects in vineyards, apple orchards or melon and banana plantations.

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