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  • Writer's pictureSiobhan Scantland

The Benefits of Agrivoltaics: How Solar Panels Can Boost Crop Yields

The Benefits of Agrivoltaics: How Solar Panels Can Boost Crop Yields In recent years, there has been a growing interest in finding innovative ways to promote renewable energy while also addressing the challenges faced by the agricultural industry. One such solution that has gained traction is agrivoltaics, a concept that combines solar energy and agriculture to create a sustainable and mutually beneficial system. CanWest Solar, a solar farm developer based in Central and Northern Alberta, is at the forefront of this movement, promoting agrivoltaics as a way to boost crop yields and contribute to a greener future. Agrivoltaics involves the installation of solar panels above agricultural fields, allowing crops to grow underneath. This arrangement offers several benefits that can revolutionize the way we approach farming and energy production. Let's explore some of these advantages: 1. Increased Land Efficiency: By utilizing the space above the crops, agrivoltaics maximizes land efficiency. Instead of dedicating separate areas for solar farms and agriculture, farmers can now generate clean energy while still utilizing their land for crop production. This is especially beneficial in regions like Central and Northern Alberta, where land availability is limited. 2. Enhanced Crop Yields: The presence of solar panels above the crops creates a microclimate that can improve crop yields. The panels provide shade, reducing evaporation and water loss, which is particularly advantageous in arid regions. Additionally, the panels act as a barrier, protecting the crops from extreme weather conditions such as hailstorms. Studies have shown that agrivoltaic systems can increase crop yields by up to 60% compared to traditional farming methods. 3. Reduced Water Consumption: Water scarcity is a significant concern in agriculture, especially in regions with limited water resources. Agrivoltaics can help address this issue by reducing water consumption. The shade provided by the solar panels helps to retain moisture in the soil, reducing the need for excessive irrigation. This not only conserves water but also lowers farmers' operational costs. 4. Diversification of Income: Agrivoltaics offers farmers an additional source of income through the sale of clean energy. By partnering with solar farm developers like CanWest Solar, farmers can lease their land for solar panel installation and receive regular payments for the energy generated. This diversification of income can provide stability and financial security, especially during times of fluctuating crop prices. 5. Environmental Benefits: Agrivoltaics contributes to a greener future by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. By generating clean energy, solar panels help mitigate climate change and promote a more sustainable energy system. Additionally, the shade provided by the panels reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers, as it helps to maintain soil moisture and temperature, creating a more natural and eco-friendly farming environment. Agrivoltaics represents a win-win solution for both the agricultural and renewable energy sectors. By harnessing the power of the sun while nurturing the growth of crops, we can create a more sustainable and resilient food system. CanWest Solar's dedication to promoting agrivoltaics in Central and Northern Alberta reflects their commitment to renewable energy and their desire to build stronger relationships with farmers in the local community. If you're a farmer in Central or Northern Alberta, consider exploring the benefits of agrivoltaics and how it can transform your farming practices. Reach out to CanWest Solar for more information and to discuss the possibilities of integrating solar panels into your agricultural operations. Together, we can create a greener and more prosperous future for our communities.

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