Agrivoltaics provide mutual benefits across the food–energy–water nexus in drylands

Greg A Barron-Gafford, Mitchell Pavao-Zuckerman, Rebecca L. Minor, Leland F. Sutter, Isaiah Barnett-Moreno, Daniel T. Blackett, Moses Thompson, Kirk Dimond, Andrea K. Gerlak, Gary P Nabhan, Jordan E. Macknick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The vulnerabilities of our food, energy and water systems to projected climatic change make building resilience in renewable energy and food production a fundamental challenge. We investigate a novel approach to solve this problem by creating a hybrid of colocated agriculture and solar photovoltaic (PV) infrastructure. We take an integrative approach—monitoring microclimatic conditions, PV panel temperature, soil moisture and irrigation water use, plant ecophysiological function and plant biomass production within this ‘agrivoltaics’ ecosystem and in traditional PV installations and agricultural settings to quantify trade-offs. We find that shading by the PV panels provides multiple additive and synergistic benefits, including reduced plant drought stress, greater food production and reduced PV panel heat stress. The results presented here provide a foundation and motivation for future explorations towards the resilience of food and energy systems under the future projected increased environmental stress involving heat and drought.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Sustainability
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

solar collectors
arid lands
solar energy
food
food production
Food
heat stress
Drought
Droughts
water stress
drought
resilience
heat
Hot Temperature
drought stress
renewable energy sources
Renewable Energy
environmental stress
shading
energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Food Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Urban Studies
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this

Agrivoltaics provide mutual benefits across the food–energy–water nexus in drylands. / Barron-Gafford, Greg A; Pavao-Zuckerman, Mitchell; Minor, Rebecca L.; Sutter, Leland F.; Barnett-Moreno, Isaiah; Blackett, Daniel T.; Thompson, Moses; Dimond, Kirk; Gerlak, Andrea K.; Nabhan, Gary P; Macknick, Jordan E.

In: Nature Sustainability, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Barron-Gafford, Greg A ; Pavao-Zuckerman, Mitchell ; Minor, Rebecca L. ; Sutter, Leland F. ; Barnett-Moreno, Isaiah ; Blackett, Daniel T. ; Thompson, Moses ; Dimond, Kirk ; Gerlak, Andrea K. ; Nabhan, Gary P ; Macknick, Jordan E. / Agrivoltaics provide mutual benefits across the food–energy–water nexus in drylands. In: Nature Sustainability. 2019.
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