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Solar panels are sprouting on farmland like mushrooms after the rain, but there’s no such thing as a free lunch. If too many solar panels replace too much cropland, there goes the food supply. However, farmers are beginning to learn how to do their farming within solar arrays, and in a new green twofer, solar arrays could actually help push the regenerative agriculture movement into the mainstream. Farmers are learning how to deploy solar arrays and do farming both at the same time (photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL). Solar Panels + Farming, Good The first twist in the field of solar + farming was a relatively simple one. Raise the solar panels just a few extra feet off the ground, and you can graze sheep and other animals on the same land. You can also use the land for pollinator habitat. Et voilà, there you have something new called agrivoltaics . Of course, raised solar panels can involve some extra cost, but that could be counterbalanced by an increase in efficiency. Researchers are beginning to amass evidence that allowing plants to flourish under a raised solar array can improve solar cell efficiency by creating a cooling microclimate. As for […]

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