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  • Writer's pictureSiobhan Scantland

Agrivoltaics: The Perfect Combination of Farming and Solar Energy

Agrivoltaics: The Perfect Combination of Farming and Solar Energy In recent years, there has been a growing interest in finding innovative ways to promote renewable energy and sustainable farming practices. One such solution that has gained traction is agrivoltaics, a concept that combines farming and solar energy production. Agrivoltaics, also known as solar farming or dual-use agriculture, involves the installation of solar panels on agricultural land, allowing farmers to generate electricity while continuing to cultivate crops. This approach not only maximizes land use but also offers numerous benefits for both the environment and the farming community. One of the key advantages of agrivoltaics is the efficient use of land. By installing solar panels above crops, farmers can make the most of their available space. This is particularly beneficial in regions like Central and Northern Alberta, where land is often limited. The image of the vast solar farm in Central Alberta perfectly illustrates how agrivoltaics can transform barren land into a productive and sustainable resource. In addition to land efficiency, agrivoltaics also provide several environmental benefits. Solar panels help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by generating clean and renewable energy. By utilizing solar energy, farmers can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and contribute to a greener future. Furthermore, the shade provided by the solar panels can help to mitigate the effects of extreme weather conditions, such as heatwaves, on crops. This can lead to increased crop yields and improved resilience against climate change. Agrivoltaics also offer economic advantages for farmers. By generating electricity through solar panels, farmers can offset their energy costs and even sell excess energy back to the grid. This additional income stream can help to stabilize farm finances and provide a reliable source of revenue. Furthermore, agrivoltaics can create new job opportunities in the renewable energy sector, contributing to local economic growth and development. For farmers interested in adopting agrivoltaics, it is important to consider a few key factors. Firstly, the choice of crops is crucial. Certain crops, such as shade-tolerant vegetables and fruits, are better suited for agrivoltaics as they can thrive under the shade of solar panels. Additionally, farmers should ensure that the solar panels are installed at an optimal height and angle to maximize energy absorption without compromising crop growth. CanWest Solar, a solar farm developer based in Central and Northern Alberta, is at the forefront of promoting agrivoltaics in the region. Their commitment to renewable energy and support for local farmers is evident in their dedication to developing solar farms that incorporate agricultural practices. By targeting the specific regions of Central and Northern Alberta, CanWest Solar aims to create a sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship between solar energy production and farming. In conclusion, agrivoltaics offer a perfect combination of farming and solar energy production. This innovative approach maximizes land use, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and provides economic benefits for farmers. With the support of companies like CanWest Solar, agrivoltaics have the potential to revolutionize the way we produce energy and cultivate crops, paving the way for a more sustainable and prosperous future.

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