Debunking myths: are solar parks and wind farms grabbing land from farming?

Published on Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Renewables and farming can coexist

A new way for renewable power plants and farming to coexist in an ever more sustainable way is delivered by Agrivoltaics, an innovative method seeing Enel Green Power partner with the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The InSPIRE project (Innovative Site Preparation and Impact Reductions on the Environment) is currently probing whether PV solar arrays and crops can be mutually beneficial: field testing is focused on the way shade from solar panels can lead to a more efficient water usage while protecting crops from the sun’s rays during the warmer hours. The first results of Agrivoltaics were surprising: a cherry tomato plantation in Arizona lowered its water consumption while doubling its yield.

The design of many ground-based PV solar arrays is based on operational models that greatly reduce land usage. A sustained R&D effort delivered such technological advancements like the HJT bi-facial PV solar panel, a world exclusive from Enel Green Power, manufactured in its 3SUN factory located in Catania, Italy. Such technology is engineered to capture solar radiation from both sides of the panel, thus improving its efficiency while optimizing the landmass occupied by a power plant.

Excessive land usage, together with the potential conflict between renenwable power plants and crops have both been debunked. This new generation of renewable power plants will stimulate the energy transition process and more: farming will become an integral part of the “green revolution” thanks to innovative solutions that will enhance the value creation process.

[1] Reserved to large scale projects only. About 10 GW-worth of small-sized facilities should be added to this development.