Knowns, Uncertainties, and Challenges in Agrivoltaics to Sustainably Intensify Energy and Food Production

Nuria Gomez-Casanovas, Paul Mwebaze, Madhu Khanna, Bruce Branham, Alson Time, Evan Delucia, Carl Bernacchi, Alan Knapp, Muhammad Hoque, Xuzhi Du, Elena Blanc-Betes, Greg Barron-Gafford, Bin Peng, Kaiyu Guan, Jordan Macknick, Ruiqing Miao, Nenad Miljkovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus Citations

Abstract

Harnessing solar energy to renewably produce electricity can contribute to climate mitigation while meeting current energy demands. However, utility-scale photovoltaics are land intensive and can compete with food production. Agrivoltaics, which combines both energy and food production, has the potential to reduce competition for land. However, its benefits remain uncertain. Here, we review the literature to assess how agrivoltaics can provide synergistic benefits across the food-energy-water nexus relative to photovoltaic or agricultural systems in isolation. Overall, agrivoltaics has the potential to enhance the sustainability of agricultural land and the resilience of our food and energy systems while helping meet energy and food demands. However, there are obstacles to be surmounted. Interdisciplinary collaborative research actions to gain a holistic and mechanistic understanding of the ecological, environmental, and socio-economic consequences of agrivoltaics, and to realize how new innovations can unravel the potential of this emerging strategy, are urgently needed.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number101518
Number of pages24
JournalCell Reports Physical Science
Volume4
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 16 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-84669

Keywords

  • agrivoltaics
  • climate change
  • climate resilience
  • climate-smart
  • energy production
  • food production
  • food-energy-water
  • photovoltaics
  • solar energy

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