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Agricultural Solar Systems


g.      Agricultural Solar Systems

This subtopic seeks proposals for innovative technologies that can reduce the installed cost of streams from agricultural solar systems, improve the systems’ energy yield, facilitate their installation and grid interconnection, and enable additional value. Of particular interest are new system designs and technologies that optimize solar and agriculture production, which may include novel mounting and racking designs or site configurations.


Although land requirements for solar energy represent a small percentage of the country (92 GW of solar estimated for 2030, which is estimated to require less than 0.1% of the land in the contiguous United States), the growth in ground-mounted solar can create competition with agricultural land for land use. Co-locating solar PV and agriculture could provide diversified revenue sources and ecological benefits for agricultural enterprises while reducing land-use competition and siting restrictions. Except for growing pollinator habitat at solar facilities, the co-location of solar and agriculture is primarily limited to research sites. There are many opportunities to develop new technologies that enable agricultural production (i.e., crop or livestock production, or pollinator habitat) underneath or around solar energy systems that optimize both energy and agricultural production at co-located sites [1].


Value streams of interest under this subtopic include, but are not limited to, increased agricultural yield and quality of life improvements, such as temperature reduction via shading. Applicants must include a strategy for future work to validate additional benefit/value streams, like crop field studies, for example.


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