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Farming crops under solar panels, a process called agrivoltaics, can boost food production, water savings, and the efficiency of electricity production, researchers report. Building resilience in renewable energy and food production is a fundamental challenge in today’s changing world, especially in regions susceptible to heat and drought. Agrivoltaics, also known as solar sharing, is an idea that gained traction in recent years. Few studies, however, have monitored all aspects of the associated food, energy, and water systems, and none have focused on dryland areas—regions that experience food production challenges and water shortages, but have an overabundance of sun energy. “Many of us want more renewable energy, but where do you put all of those panels? As solar installations grow, they tend to be out on the edges of cities, and this is historically where we have already been growing our food,” says Greg Barron-Gafford, an associate professor in the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona and lead author of the paper in Nature Sustainability . Researchers used instruments to continually monitor several key factors, including incoming light levels, air temperature, relative humidity, soil surface temperature, and soil moisture. (Photo: Greg Barron-Gafford/U. Arizona) A recent study […]

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