Initial Feasibility Assessment of Agrivoltaics in Jackson County, IL

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Consistent with concerns raised in other rural communities, the agricultural community in Jackson County, IL is reluctant to install ground based photovoltaic (PV) systems on prime agricultural land. Agrivoltaic solutions have the potential to mitigate community concerns of conversion of farmland to solar energy by allowing for both energy production and farming practices to occur on the same land area. To assess the potential for agrivoltaics in Jackson County, IL, the Jackson County Coalition requested technical assistance to perform an initial technoeconomic assessment, resource assessment, and feasibility assessment based on the unique agricultural context present in the area. In this paper, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) interviewed five Jackson County experts for five key crops (vineyards, strawberries, pumpkins, apple and pear orchards, and hemp) to examine potential for agrivoltaics integration and identify key barriers that could hamper development. NREL performed technoeconomic analysis for different agrivoltaic system designs to determine the economic constraints and opportunities of agrivoltaics development. Overall, there is no one path for agrivoltaics success in Jackson County. Pilot projects can assist in demonstrating agrivoltaic feasibility to stakeholders reluctant to be first adopters. Based on preliminary analyses, agrivoltaic integration with vineyards may prove most feasible as the per acre returns of grapes are comparable with the returns needed to offset higher solar development costs for agrivoltaic systems. In terms of technical specifications of solar, pumpkins and strawberries could be integrated into more traditional solar designs, but there are concerns with shading and pest control. There is no one size fits all solution, and many options may need exploring before a workable solution is found.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages26
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-88816

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102024-6175


  • agricultural
  • agrivoltaic
  • Communities LEAP
  • feasibility
  • photovoltaic


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