Modern solar technology increases crop yield and land-use efficiency, accelerating smart agricultural practices to boost profit prospects for farmers.
FREMONT, CA: Advocates of solar power have long known the multiple benefits of harnessing this clean, renewable energy source. As its benefits become more apparent to a more significant number of people, solar energy is fueling the overall likability of solar energy among the general population. Utilities are boosting their investment in solar panels; pioneers in solar technology today, are committed to providing high-quality and cost-effective intelligent solar power solutions for homeowners, companies, and utility-scale installations. These advanced solutions are also driving farmers and agricultural business owners to invest in solar, not just as a way to power their farming operations, but as modern money-making and saving strategy as well. Thanks to advancing solar energy technologies, which are downscaling the cost of going solar for agrarians.
Various studies have pointed out that cropland is the most effective area to deploy solar farms, and solar energy could meet the rising demand for electricity. There is a vast scope for solar and agriculture to work together and provide reliable, renewable energy. This dual-use system is termed as agrophotovoltaic (APV), which is opening up new spaces, serving the need of the hour; no doubt that solar power and farming are winning combos. Solar energy can be harvested forever, providing agrarians with a long term source of income. Studies say that all the energy stored in earth's reserves of coal, oil and natural gas is equal to the energy from 20 days of sunshine. Hopefully, the win-win solution APV is attracting farmers towards the enormous solar benefits by which they produce increased yields and walk towards sustainability.
As new and efficient solar technologies hit the market, the road map to completely solar-assisted agriculture is no more a far-fetched dream. Solar energy is being used in agriculture in several ways, including saving money, increasing self-reliance, and reducing pollution. Solar drying equipment running with the solar power produced in the same land can dry crops faster and more evenly than leaving them in the field after harvest, with the added advantage of avoiding crop loss by birds and weather. While powering the solar dryer can be costly, harvesting solar energy in the same farmland makes it cost-effective. If the farm has a crop dryer already in place, it makes sense to install a solar energy harvesting system which could bring many more benefits. Commercial greenhouses often rely on the sun upon lighting and on gas or oil heaters to maintain constant temperatures. But a solar greenhouse powered by farm produced solar energy, can be used during the night and cloudy days. Oil or gas heater may be used as a backup, and farmers can save a considerable amount of money by doing this.
Famers are increasingly producing electricity from sunlight. Photovoltaic (PV) panels are mainly used for this as they are often inexpensive when compared to new electric lines for providing power to remote locations. Because PV panels need no fuel and have no moving parts, they are more convenient to install in farmlands and easy to operate and maintain than fuel or gas generators. PV panel is a highly reliable and low maintenance option for electric fences, lights, and water pumps.
A recent report appeared in the journal Scientific Reports points out: deploying solar panels on less than one percent of the world's agricultural land could produce enough energy to meet global energy needs. Realizing this potential, dual-use projects are gaining prominence among farmers. It is slowly becoming a parallel stream of revenue, helping to increase productivity along with diversifying farmers' income.