New Developments in Agrivoltaics
Agriculture is the world’s largest industry, employing over one billion people and generating over $1.3 trillion dollars worth of food annually. Cropland occupies around 50% of the land on Earth. It is not surprising then that the agricultural industry consumes a large amount of energy. In 2016, the agricultural industry consumed 1,872 Btu of energy, 1.9% of total US energy consumption. Farms need this energy to power machinery, irrigate crops, cool and heat facilities, provide lighting, and dry grains. Agrivoltaics, or the installation of solar panels over cropland can provide a multitude of benefits, helping source required energy from clean, renewable sources.