Agrivoltaics In India : Simultaneous Use Of Land For Both Agriculture And RE Power Generation Offers A Potential Solution
Agrivoltaics did not negatively impact crop yields
PHOTO COURTESY : RECHARGE NEWS
Agrivoltaics — the simultaneous use of land for both agriculture and photovoltaic (PV) power generation — offers a potential solution to the competition for land resources between agriculture and renewable energy that may arise in the future in India.
According to a report recently published by the International Institute of Sustainable development ( IISD). The report assesses the current state of development and identifies the challenges and opportunities for the commercialization of agri voltaics in India.
The key findings of the report are:
- Agrivoltaics did not negatively impact crop yields. In some cases crop yields even increased according to implementers.
- Technological innovations and testing business models will be key for commercialization of agrivoltaics.
- Arid, semi-arid, and peri-urban areas are likely to be good locations for agri voltaics in India.
- State governments need to reform land-use and tax regulations to support agri voltaics and must develop consistent standards and definitions.
- To commercialize agrivoltaics, States should consider alternative tariff-setting approaches.
- Capacity building will be critical to scale up agri voltaics and to support crop management.
- Innovation and peer learning will be critical to overcome operational challenges.
The findings in this paper are designed to support state agencies, developers, and other stakeholders in the faster adoption of agri voltaics by providing policy recommendations, proposing business models, along with a financial and technical transitions mechanism.
In the future, many countries, including India, may witness growing competition for land resources between agriculture and renewable energy. Agrivoltaics—the simultaneous use of land for both agriculture and photovoltaic (PV) power generation—offers a potential solution. Studies show potential for increasing crop yield and panel efficiency, making agri voltaics an attractive option for farmers and solar developers. Agrivoltaics has grown swiftly across the world in recent years, and India is taking the first steps in its adoption, with more than a dozen pilot projects having been deployed across the country.
This report is a supplementary companion to a comprehensive guidebook (to be published on May 30, 2023) on how to deploy small-scale decentralized solar power plants under India’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) scheme. Which provides practical guidance to states on how they can begin to pilot agri voltaics in their first phases of deployment under PM-KUSUM, which explicitly states that it can be used to support agrivoltaics.
The writer of this article is Dr. Seema Javed, an environmentalist & a communications professional in the field of climate and energy