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Title: Agrivoltaics provide mutual benefits across the food–energy–water nexus in drylands

Abstract

The vulnerabilities of our food, energy and water systems to projected climatic change make building resilience in renewable energy and food production a fundamental challenge. We investigate a novel approach to solve this problem by creating a hybrid of colocated agriculture and solar photovoltaic (PV) infrastructure. We take an integrative approach - monitoring microclimatic conditions, PV panel temperature, soil moisture and irrigation water use, plant ecophysiological function and plant biomass production within this 'agrivoltaics' ecosystem and in traditional PV installations and agricultural settings to quantify trade-offs. We find that shading by the PV panels provides multiple additive and synergistic benefits, including reduced plant drought stress, greater food production and reduced PV panel heat stress. The results presented here provide a foundation and motivation for future explorations towards the resilience of food and energy systems under the future projected increased environmental stress involving heat and drought.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [3]; ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [1];  [4]
  1. Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States)
  2. Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD (United States)
  3. Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States); Tucson Unified School District, Tucson, AZ (United States)
  4. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S)
OSTI Identifier:
1567040
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-6A20-72789
Journal ID: ISSN 2398-9629
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Sustainability
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 2; Journal Issue: 9; Journal ID: ISSN 2398-9629
Publisher:
Springer Nature
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY; agrivoltaics; co-location; solar; agriculture; food-energy-water nexus; low-impact solar

Citation Formats

Barron-Gafford, Greg A., Pavao-Zuckerman, Mitchell A., Minor, Rebecca L., Sutter, Leland F., Barnett-Moreno, Isaiah, Blackett, Daniel T., Thompson, Moses, Dimond, Kirk, Gerlak, Andrea K., Nabhan, Gary P., and Macknick, Jordan E. Agrivoltaics provide mutual benefits across the food–energy–water nexus in drylands. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1038/s41893-019-0364-5.
Barron-Gafford, Greg A., Pavao-Zuckerman, Mitchell A., Minor, Rebecca L., Sutter, Leland F., Barnett-Moreno, Isaiah, Blackett, Daniel T., Thompson, Moses, Dimond, Kirk, Gerlak, Andrea K., Nabhan, Gary P., & Macknick, Jordan E. Agrivoltaics provide mutual benefits across the food–energy–water nexus in drylands. United States. doi:10.1038/s41893-019-0364-5.
Barron-Gafford, Greg A., Pavao-Zuckerman, Mitchell A., Minor, Rebecca L., Sutter, Leland F., Barnett-Moreno, Isaiah, Blackett, Daniel T., Thompson, Moses, Dimond, Kirk, Gerlak, Andrea K., Nabhan, Gary P., and Macknick, Jordan E. Mon . "Agrivoltaics provide mutual benefits across the food–energy–water nexus in drylands". United States. doi:10.1038/s41893-019-0364-5.
@article{osti_1567040,
title = {Agrivoltaics provide mutual benefits across the food–energy–water nexus in drylands},
author = {Barron-Gafford, Greg A. and Pavao-Zuckerman, Mitchell A. and Minor, Rebecca L. and Sutter, Leland F. and Barnett-Moreno, Isaiah and Blackett, Daniel T. and Thompson, Moses and Dimond, Kirk and Gerlak, Andrea K. and Nabhan, Gary P. and Macknick, Jordan E.},
abstractNote = {The vulnerabilities of our food, energy and water systems to projected climatic change make building resilience in renewable energy and food production a fundamental challenge. We investigate a novel approach to solve this problem by creating a hybrid of colocated agriculture and solar photovoltaic (PV) infrastructure. We take an integrative approach - monitoring microclimatic conditions, PV panel temperature, soil moisture and irrigation water use, plant ecophysiological function and plant biomass production within this 'agrivoltaics' ecosystem and in traditional PV installations and agricultural settings to quantify trade-offs. We find that shading by the PV panels provides multiple additive and synergistic benefits, including reduced plant drought stress, greater food production and reduced PV panel heat stress. The results presented here provide a foundation and motivation for future explorations towards the resilience of food and energy systems under the future projected increased environmental stress involving heat and drought.},
doi = {10.1038/s41893-019-0364-5},
journal = {Nature Sustainability},
number = 9,
volume = 2,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {9}
}

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