Renewable Energy

Feed Individuals, Energy Economies, Foster Peace with Agrivoltaics

Amidst the noise, haste, and chaos of contemporary life there are extra optimistic developments for humanity than one would possibly assume. Everybody focuses on the disasters of the local weather disaster, and whereas these do inspire our each day work, we additionally really feel it’s necessary to spotlight the hopeful – the very actual improvements pushing our clear vitality motion ahead. That is the newest in our new column “Rational Trigger for Optimism” by ReVision co-founder Phil Coupe.

Rational Trigger for Optimism: Foster Peace with Agrivoltaics

by Co-Founder Phil Coupe

When it was nonetheless a part of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was known as the ‘breadbasket’ of Russia due to its uncommonly fertile soil and local weather. Now beneath vicious assault, Ukraine is preventing for survival in opposition to an immoral, nuclear-equipped authoritarian regime that desires to show again the clock to the darkest of occasions.

This horrific conflict, unfolding earlier than the world’s fearful eyes, forces us to stretch our creativeness in pursuit of rationality, optimism, and hope for a greater future. At present we have to work out methods to starve dictators by weaning off fossil fuels whereas changing the once-abundant output of Europe’s badly broken breadbasket.

Steady innovation in agriculture and vitality have saved a lot of the world moderately well-fed and energized however we now face the twin threats of intensifying local weather injury and political destabilization, each ensuing from the global petro cartels that protect dictators like Putin and delay the urgently needed clean energy transition.

Sheep graze beneath a ReVision-built array in Skowhegan, ME.

Thank goodness for folks like Colorado-based farmer Byron Kominek, the driving power behind Jack’s Photo voltaic Backyard, who’re discovering methods to extend meals and renewable vitality manufacturing at what seems like a dangerous hour for all. Put in by fellow B Corp and Amicus member Namaste Solar, Jack’s Solar Garden is an experiment to combine agriculture and clear vitality manufacturing to see if a ‘twin use’ method can assist enhance meals and vitality safety.

Primarily based on early outcomes from Jack’s Photo voltaic Backyard, and from ongoing analysis worldwide, agrivoltaics (twin use farming) has immense potential to alleviate a few of our worst issues. In accordance with the 2021 report “Twin Use, Twin Worth Photo voltaic Agrivoltaics Energy Farm Economics,” by Dr. Maggie Teliska and Michael P. Totten, simply 1% of present cultivated agricultural lands putting in agrivoltaic microgrids might meet worldwide vitality demand.

This reality enhances a current examine by the Australian Nationwide College that found earth’s topography and hydrogeology has the potential for 100 occasions extra Pumped Hydro Energy Storage than what is required for a worldwide transition to 100% renewable vitality.

One other current report, “Agrivoltaics: Producing Solar Energy While Protecting Farmland,” by Invoice Pederson and Brooks Lamb, reveals how the twin use method can dramatically improve land productiveness:

The outcomes depicted above are already being actualized within the real-world of Jack’s Photo voltaic Backyard the place Kominek was in a position to produce 8,600 kilos of produce by planting seeds between the rows of photo voltaic panels in 2021.

Jack’s Photo voltaic Backyard, Picture Credit score: NPR

Meals manufacturing and vitality technology have lengthy been considered as incompatible on the identical patch of earth, if not mutually unique. The profitable proof of idea that’s Jack’s Photo voltaic Backyard, together with solar grazing initiatives, has debunked the notion that clear, zero-emission photo voltaic vitality manufacturing conflicts with farming. Whereas crops can develop robustly between rows of photo voltaic panels, it seems that livestock are the perfect ‘lawnmowers’ for ground-mounted photo voltaic arrays as a result of they maintain vegetation from rising tall sufficient to shade the panels:

Sunshine, photo voltaic panels and twin use farming will not be going to cease the conflict in Ukraine nor shut down Russian oil manufacturing anytime quickly, however they’re quickly turning into a potent antidote to the previous, current and future unfavourable impacts of our over-reliance on fossil fuels. As we scale up confirmed options like agrivoltaics, we are going to weaken the petro-cartels and the undemocratic, authoritarian dictatorships they assist maintain in energy.

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