The 5 Cs of Agrivoltaic Success Factors in the United States: Lessons from the InSPIRE Research Study

Jordan Macknick, Heidi Hartmann, Greg Barron-Gafford, Brenda Beatty, Robin Burton, Chong Seok-Choi, Matthew Davis, Rob Davis, Jorge Figueroa, Amy Garrett, Lexie Hain, Stephen Herbert, Jake Janski, Austin Kinzer, Alan Knapp, Michael Lehan, John Losey, Jake Marley, James MacDonald, James McCallLucas Nebert, Sujith Ravi, Jason Schmidt, Brittany Staie, Leroy Walston

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The concept of agrivoltaics (combining agriculture and solar photovoltaics technologies on the same land in novel configurations) has emerged as an approach to mitigate conflicts between solar and agricultural activities by providing mutual benefits and added values to each sector. The U.S. Department of Energy has supported agrivoltaics research since 2015 through its Innovative Solar Practices Integrated with Rural Economies and Ecosystems (InSPIRE) research project (National Renewable Energy Laboratory 2022). The InSPIRE project is the most comprehensive coordinated research effort on agrivoltaics in the United States and has examined opportunities and tradeoffs at over 25 sites across the country that span crop production, pollinator habitat, ecosystem services, animal husbandry, and d. Integrating research sites with active commercial agricultural operations can introduce unique challenges for conducting research. This synthesis aims to highlight the technical and non-technical insights from InSPIRE agrivoltaic field research sites from 2015-2021 to support i) appropriate deployment of agrivoltaic projects; ii) more successful research on agrivoltaics; and iii) more effective partnerships on agrivoltaic projects. The synthesized lessons discussed here are focused less on specific case study outcomes (i.e., the percent change in crop yield in an agrivoltaics configuration), and instead more on the elements that enable and facilitate agrivoltaics projects to be installed and operated along with research to be conducted at those sites. We find that there are some insights that are applicable across all types of agrivoltaic projects, while ecosystem service projects and crop production agrivoltaic projects can often have other unique considerations.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages80
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-83566


  • agrivoltaics
  • environment
  • solar


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