The development of agrivoltaics, or the shared use of land for agricultural and photovoltaic production, is gaining traction as a viable solution to the conflict between land use for sustainable energy and agricultural production. A recent methodology developed by the TEP215-Physics for Renewable Energies research group at the University of Cordoba aims to define the cultivable space between two-axis photovoltaic modules, paving the way for the conversion of existing plants into agrivoltaic production systems.

The methodology developed by the research group involves a theoretical simulation of solar astronomy and the spatial geometry of photovoltaic plants equipped with two-axis solar panels. By identifying areas where crops can be cultivated without interfering with the movement of the solar panels or reducing photovoltaic production, the researchers have provided a practical approach to integrating agricultural production into existing photovoltaic facilities.

The study conducted at the “El Molino” photovoltaic installation in Cordoba revealed that 74% of the land between panels is cultivable by crops less than 1.4 meters high. This highlights the significant potential for agrivoltaic systems to enhance land use efficiency and maximize the productivity of existing large-scale photovoltaic plants. By combining photovoltaic and agricultural production, agrivoltaics offer a dual benefit of sustainability and profitability.

The researchers emphasize that the development of agrivoltaic systems represents a crucial step towards combatting climate change and promoting sustainable energy production. By integrating crops between solar panels, agrivoltaics not only enhance the productivity of the land but also contribute to environmental conservation by maintaining soil moisture and providing shading for crops in extreme climates.

Moving forward, the establishment of legislation on agrivoltaics and conducting field trials with different types of crops are identified as the next steps to be taken towards the widespread implementation of these systems. By refining and adjusting parameters, the model developed by the University of Cordoba research group can be applied to other existing photovoltaic plants, further exploring the potential for agrivoltaic conversion.

The emergence of agrivoltaics as a sustainable solution for maximizing land use efficiency holds promise for the future of renewable energy production. Through innovative methodologies and collaborative research efforts, the integration of agricultural production with photovoltaic systems presents a win-win opportunity for promoting economic viability and environmental conservation. As we strive towards a more sustainable future, agrivoltaics stand out as a beacon of innovation in the fight against climate change.

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