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Pearce Publications: Energy Conservation • Energy Policy • Industrial Symbiosis • Life Cycle Analysis • Materials Science • Open Source • Photovoltaic Systems • Solar Cells • Sustainable Development • Sustainability Education
- William Lytle, Theresa K. Meyer, Nagendra G. Tanikella, Laurie Burnham, Julie Engel, Chelsea Schelly, Joshua M. Pearce.Conceptual Design and Rationale for a New Agrivoltaics Concept: Pasture-Raised Rabbits and Solar Farming. Journal of Cleaner Production, 282 (2021) 124476 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.124476 open access
Land-use conflicts created by the growth of solar photovoltaics (PV) can be mitigated by applying the concept of agrivoltaics, that is, the co-development of land for both PV and agricultural purposes, to commercial-scale solar installations. In this study, we present a conceptual design for a novel agrivoltaic system based on pasture-fed rabbit farming and provide the technical, environmental and economic analyses to demonstrate the viability of the concept. Included in our analysis are the economic advantages to the PV operator of grazing rabbits at a density sufficient to control vegetative growth, thus reducing the economic and environmental costs of mowing; the dual-revenue stream from the sale of both rabbits and electricity, contrasted with estimates of the capital-investment costs for rabbits co-located with, and also independent of, PV; and the economic value to the rabbit farmer of higher colony-growth rates (made possible by the shading and predator protection provided by the PV arrays and of reduced fencing costs, which are the largest capital cost, by being able to leverage the PV systems for rabbit fencing. We also provide an environmental analysis that suggests that rabbit-PV farming is a pathway to a measurable reduction in agriculturally-generated greenhouse-gas emissions. Our calculations indicate that the co-location of solar and rabbit farms is a viable form of agrivoltaics, increasing overall site revenue by 2.5%-24.0% above projected electricity revenue depending on location and rental/ownership of rabbits, while providing a high-value agricultural product that, on a per weight basis, has significantly less environmental impact than cattle.
Highlights[edit | edit source]
- Agrivoltaics avoids land-use conflicts between photovoltaics (PV) and agriculture.
- Developed novel pasture-fed rabbit farming for agrivoltaics.
- Rabbits cut O&M costs by grazing.
- Location dependent rabbits increase revenue 2.5-24% from ownership/land rental fees.
Keywords[edit | edit source]
Agrivoltaic; Agriculture; Photovoltaic; Farming; Joint production; Solar farm; Economics; rabbit farming; land use; food-energy-water nexus; sustainable agriculture
External resources for agrivoltaics[edit | edit source]
|"A False Narrative": Big Coal's War on Clean Energy and Solar in Ag|
See also[edit | edit source]
- The potential of agrivoltaic systems
- Integrating solar energy with agriculture: Industry perspectives on the market, community, and socio-political dimensions of agrivoltaics
- A First Investigation of Agriculture Sector Perspectives on the Opportunities and Barriers for Agrivoltaics
- Dual use of land for PV farms and agriculture literature review
- Aquavoltaics: Synergies for dual use of water area for solar photovoltaic electricity generation and aquaculture
- Agrivoltaic potential on grape farms in India
- Coal with Carbon Capture and Sequestration is not as Land Use Efficient as Solar Photovoltaic Technology for Climate Neutral Electricity Production
- Miskin, C.K., Li, Y., Perna, A., Ellis, R.G., Grubbs, E.K., Bermel, P. and Agrawal, R., 2019. Sustainable co-production of food and solar power to relax land-use constraints. Nature Sustainability, 2(10), pp.972-980.
- Shading PV