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World Energy Needs Can Be Powered by Farmland

World Energy Needs Can Be Powered by FarmlandWorld Energy Needs Can Be Powered by Farmland

An Oregon State University study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, has found that if less than 1% of agricultural land was converted to solar panels, it would be sufficient to fulfill the global electric energy demand. 
The concept of co-developing the same area of land for both solar photovoltaic power and conventional agriculture is known as agrivoltaics, Smart-energy.com reported.
“Our results indicate that there is a huge potential for solar and agriculture to work together to provide reliable energy,” said corresponding author Chad Higgins, an associate professor in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences. 
“There’s an old adage that agriculture can overproduce anything. That’s what we found in electricity, too. It turns out that 8,000 years ago, farmers found the best places to harvest solar energy on Earth.”
“Solar panels are finicky,” he said. “Their efficiency drops the hotter the panels get. That barren land is hotter. Their productivity is less than what it could be per acre.”
For their study, OSU researchers analyzed power production data collected by Tesla, which has installed five large grid-tied, ground-mounted solar electric arrays on agricultural lands.
The researchers synchronized the Tesla information with data collected by microclimate research stations they installed at the array that recorded mean air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, wind direction, soil moisture and incoming solar energy.
Based on those results, Elnaz Hassanpour Adeh, a recent PhD graduate from OSU’s water resources engineering program and co-author on the study, developed a model for photovoltaic efficiency as a function of air temperature, wind speed and relative humidity.

 

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