Installing vast arrays of photovoltaic (PV) panels often means clearing swathes of land to bare soil. This has an impact on land sustainability, affecting soil stability, water retention, and biodiversity. And there is often competition for land, which is also needed for food production.
But a new trial planting crops beneath the panels has shown some promising results in Eastern Africa.
Agrivoltaics is the simultaneous use of land for growing crops and generating electricity with photovoltaic panels. The first agrivoltaic array has opened in Kenya after successful trials in Eastern Africa.
The panels are mounted high enough for crops to be grown underneath, sheltering them from the sun and allowing rainwater harvesting. It uses the shade provided by the PV set-up, as well as rain water harvesting, to provide a more nurturing environment for crops than if they were planted in open fields.
Sounds to be a good solution!