Feature Image for Flowering Solar Farms, “Agrivoltaics:” A Powerful Sweet Synergy

Flowering Solar Farms, “Agrivoltaics:” A Powerful Sweet Synergy

March 25, 2019

By John Jacob, with contributions from Rob Davis

Front cover of American Bee Journal Magazine with close up of a bee and a pink flower

The rapidly emerging practice and study of agrivoltaics has a tremendous potential to positively impact our industry and pollinator habitat. Agrivoltaics is the practice of agriculture in and around large-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar farms. Unlike “concentrated solar,” which uses heat and mirrors, PV solar is the most common kind — you see it in camping equipment and on rooftops. PV solar directly converts sunlight to electricity and is cool to the touch. Agrivoltaics was initially pioneered by Adolf Goetzberger and Armin Zastrow as early as 1981 (A). Since that time the price of solar power has plummeted — more than 99.9 percent — and, along with the cost of batteries, the cost of PV solar continues to fall. We all like cheaper and better, and in more and more states that accurately describes solar energy. The significance of this trend is that solar power is rapidly becoming one of the most popular sources of electricity. In fact, it is projected by many that solar will dominate the supply of electricity by 2050 (B).

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