Agrivoltaics: The gen-next double decker farming of energy and food.

-Dr. Rohini Kitture.

Humans, the highly evolved species on the planet, always strive to develop the best of everything. Be it the invention of wheel or fire to ease few tasks or developing satellites/space stations to seek more about the universe, humans always try to conquer the limitations and explore more. This exploration sprouted in all the fields, including the agriculture sector, which could witness tremendous developments. However, the traditional farming being much dependent on weather conditions was started being considered a riskier business, as against the other options. This limitation was overcome by an interesting development in renewable energy sectors, known as solar farming, having lesser dependencies on weather condition. As this offered guaranteed income, higher return on investment, most of the farmers across the globe started giving up their tradition farming upon the solar farming.

Now, this seems really fascinating, as solar farms are addressing the highly growing demand of energy and proving to be the best alternative to the diminishing non-renewable source of energy. But this brings another concern in the focus, that if higher portion of land is used to generate energy, where will the food be grown? How to deal with this issue of limited space and address the growing demand of both food and energy? A group of French scientists lead by Christophe Dupraz coined this next level term: agrivoltaic, growing crops (Agriculture) under the solar panel(photovoltaic), in the same land, wherein the panels which convert sunlight into energy, are lifted off the ground, offering the space underneath the grow the crops.

This, apart from offering enough space for crops, lets right amount of sunlight reach the crops, which in turn offer cooling to the panel above. Moreover, the solar panels, acting as roofs to the crops prevent excessive evaporation. (Save this point for later, something interesting in this context to come up in next article!)

Through a pilot project near Lake Constance bordering Switzerland, Germany and Austria, wherein around 720 bi-facial solar modules were mounted high enough to let the enough sunlight reach the crops underneath, the researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute’s for Solar Energy Systems found that the land’s productivity increased by 60%.

Picture courtesy: This twofer, increases the land’s productivity by using it for two different purposes, generating food and energy and offering good revenue as well. Isn’t it a win-win-win situation!

Please see the following news Source(s) and original reference(s) therein:

(Sources : What is agrivoltaics? How can solar energy and agriculture work together? ( Agriculture: the Agrivoltaic Approach – With Video (

3 thoughts on “Agrivoltaics: The gen-next double decker farming of energy and food.”

  1. Javid ajij maner

    Much needed Innovative approach in agriculture field as it is mostly affected by global climate change.
    Unlike previous innovation this should be affordable technology otherwise not more progress can be made

  2. Pingback: Symbiotic combination of solar panels with farms & canals: The smart energy and water management - S & T Digital

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar

Dr. Mashelkar is only the third Indian engineer to have been elected (1998) as Fellow of Royal Society (FRS), London in the twentieth century. He was elected Foreign Associate of US National Academy of Science (2005) and also National Academy of Engineering (2003), Associate Foreign Member, American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2011), Fellow of Royal Academy of Engineering, U.K. (1996), Foreign Fellow of Australian Technological Science and Engineering Academy (2008), Corresponding Member of Australian Academy of Sciences (2017), Fellow of World Academy of Arts & Science, USA (2000), Fellow of US National Academy of Inventors (2017), the first ever Indian from India to be elected and TWAS-Lenovo Science Prize (2018), which is the highest science award of The World Academy of Science.

In 2006, he received the ‘Star of Asia’ Award at the hands of former President of USA, George Bush (Sr). The President of India honoured Dr. Mashelkar with three of the highest civilian awards, namely Padmashri (1991), Padmabhushan (2000) and Padma Vibhushan (2014).

Prof. Satishchandra Ogale

Prof. Satishchandra B. Ogale has had a long 40 years of experience in higher education and research.  He has over 500 publications in international journals, three co-edited books with Springer, Wiley and Elsevier, and 10 granted US patents based on research done in India. 
He is a Reviewer as well as Advisory Board member of many high impact International Journals and is also a popular science writer in regional language marathi.
He has won many Awards, Prizes, and National and International recognitions. He has given numerous invited, plenary and keynote talks in National and International conferences and has supervised over 65 Ph.D. students. 
Prof. Ogale has been a Visiting Professor/ Scientist in many institutions in the USA and Europe on several occasions.

Anupama Engineer

She has previously worked as a Scientist at Agharkar research Institute and at higher management level at Thomas Baker Bioscience Private Limited. She has also taught graduate and post graduate students in Biotechnology & Microbiology during her tenure as a lecturer in Royal College, Mumbai and as a Counselor for IGNOU Biotechnology course. Anupama, is a multitasker with few roles like, entrepreneur, Scientist, manager, a doting mother and many more. Teaching and educating is her passion and she takes every effort to encourage fundamental learning. Anupama holds a vast experience in Start-up processes.

Dr Smita Chaturvedi
Smita is an experimental condensed matter physicist. The quest for multifunctional materials motivates her. Smita finished her PhD from RDVV Jabalpur and BARC Mumbai in the year 2002 and worked as a research associate in IIT Mumbai and Oakland University, Michigan. Smita was awarded as a Fulbright Nehru Academic and Professional excellence fellow in 2018-19. Smita holds more than a decade of research and teaching experience. She possesses good knowledge about education system and research opportunities in India as well as abroad. Music and gardening are her mindful meditations.
Dr. Priyadarshini Karve
Dr Priyadarshini Karve has worked in the areas of household energy, decentralised waste-to-fuel technologies, climate change mitigation and adaptation, sustainable and climate-ready urbanisation, etc. She runs her own social green enterprise Samuchit Enviro Tech in Pune, focused on enabling access to sustainable products and services. She is also a co-founder of OrjaBox, a startup promoting solar thermal technologies. Dr Karve is a Founder Member of Clean Energy Access Network (CLEAN - a multi-state society of decentralised renewable energy practitioners and entrepreneurs) and Cleaner Cooking Coalition (CCC - an international organisation focused on promoting user-centric cooking energy technologies that are good for health as well as climate). She is also the National Convener of Indian Network on Ethics and Climate Change (INECC - focused on climate justice issues and working to bring people's voices in policy choices). Her work has been recognised by several national and international awards and honours.
Sanjay Khare
Sanjay Khare ,after his graduation in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in 1986 has been associated with major Japanese & European Automotive OEMs in Indian Subcontinent for 35 years . Widely travelled across Europe & Asia , he has held positions across diverse functions of Automotive Corporations.
In his current role as Board Member and Vice President at Skoda Auto Volkswagen India , he is Chief Sustainability Catalyst to guide actions at Skoda Auto Volkswagen India along with the sister brands Audi, Porsche & Lamborghini.
He leads an active Climate Resilience program where the automotive major in India has already achieved Zero Waste to Landfill, Water Positive & Zero liquid Discharge Certification, Zero Accidents , targeting an 18.5 MW of installed Roof Top Solar plant at a single Automotive site in India in 2021 and fully Carbon Neutral Production by 2025.
Sanjay has done his Executive MBA from Management development Institute ,Gurgaon specialising in Strategy & Marketing . He has active interests in driving Cultural Change, Competency building , Human Motivation topics while adopting/ innovating the technological advancements and total quality revolution.He is also a Qualified Independent Director registered with Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Govt. of India. An active speaker on Automotive & Sustainability topics on National & International forums.
In personal life, he is an Endurance Cyclist having participated in many adventure ride expeditions . He also spends his time in developing mastery on Indian Classical Music instrument Sitar.