Harnessing the Sun: Exploring Solar Energy in New Jersey Agriculture

Solar Energy: Embracing Agrivoltaics for a Cleaner, Greener Future

Hello, Sun Chasers. Today, we’re going to dive into an exciting and forward-thinking concept that converges agriculture and solar energy: agrivoltaics.

Originating from ‘agriculture’ and ‘photovoltaics’ – the technology that converts sunlight into electricity – agrivoltaics refers to the dual use of land for agriculture and solar energy generation. Innovatively amalgamating these sectors results in both power generation and food production, utilizing the same area of land. Even though this concept has been around for a while, recent advancements have breathed new life into it.

Case in point, take Rutgers University’s agrivoltaic project on their farm. Truly embracing the essence of agrivoltaics, this solar array for home use features a vertical solar installation that frees up land to be grazed by cattle. Interestingly, this design includes animal shelters that protect cattle from the sun, provide a drinking area, and a chute for safely handling animals. A beef cattle will graze between rows of solar modules, which is a clear illustration of dual use of the land.

The main goal of this project is to study the impact of an agrivoltaic system on both forage production and animal grazing. Observations might also reveal notable behavioural changes in animals grazing among solar panels.

Consult with solar companies and reveal new ways to maximize your green footprint. You may be surprised at the creative solutions solar companies are offering for implementing solar panels for your home. Solar companies are on an unending quest to leverage innovative and cost-effective technologies to benefit their consumers.

Part of the research findings from this project will make significant contributions to the Dual-Use Solar Energy Pilot Program managed by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU). Recently, the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station received $2 million from the state for constructing research and demonstration agrivoltaic systems on its Research Farms.

What’s more, the project will employ bifacial solar modules in their vertical racking system. These modules generate energy from both sides of the vertically oriented solar array. This isn’t the first time bifacial modules are being used in agrivoltaics. For example, a vineyard in Somerset, California, leverages similar technology.

But it’s not just about dual land use. Agrivoltaics also results in reducing water evaporation from the soil. This finding, from a research group spearheaded by the University of Liège in Belgium, affirms that a vertical photovoltaic system could significantly decrease water demand for the primary irrigated crops.

Furthermore, agrivoltaics could play a pivotal role in helping the U.S. achieve its clean energy goals. According to research by Oregon State University, collocating solar and agriculture could provide 20% of the total electricity generation in the country. Their findings also suggest that large-scale implementation of agrivoltaics could lead to an annual reduction of 330,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions with minimal impact on crop yield.

In conclusion, agrivoltaics represents a union of innovation and sustainability, offering a promising future for solar energy generation and agriculture. It’s more than just solar panels for your home, it’s the next step for a cleaner, greener world. As interested consumers, you can start exploring this with a reliable solar company.

Join the revolution today – Jump on the solar wagon, and prepare to sow the seeds for a brighter, greener tomorrow with your home solar array.

Original Articlehttps://pv-magazine-usa.com/2024/04/09/new-jersey-research-farm-studies-agrivoltaics-with-vertically-mounted-solar/

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