FA info icon.svgAngle down icon.svgSource data
Type Paper
Year 2023
Location Canada
Cite as Citation reference for the source document. Jamil, U.; Bonnington, A.; Pearce, J.M. The Agrivoltaic Potential of Canada. Sustainability 2023, 15, 3228. academia OA, preprint

Canada has committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by increasing the non-emitting share of electricity generation to 90% by 2030. As solar energy costs have plummeted, agrivoltaics (the co-development of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and agriculture) provide an economic path to these goals. This study quantifies agrivoltaic potential in Canada by province using geographical information system analysis of agricultural areas and numerical simulations. The systems modeled would enable the conventional farming of field crops to continue (and potentially increase yield) by using bifacial PV for single-axis tracking and vertical system configurations. Between a quarter (vertical) and more than one third (single-axis tracking) of Canada’s electrical energy needs can be provided solely by agrivoltaics using only 1% of current agricultural lands. These results show that agrivoltaics could be a major contributor to sustainable electricity generation and provide Canada with the ability to render the power generation sector net zero/GHG emission free. It is clear that the potential of agrivoltaic-based solar energy production in Canada far outstrips current electric demand and can, thus, be used to electrify and decarbonize transportation and heating, expand economic opportunities by powering the burgeoning computing sector, and export green electricity to the U.S. to help eliminate their dependence on fossil fuels.

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Services provided by agrivoltaics are: renewable electricity generation, decreased green-house gas emissions, reduced climate change, increased crop yield, plant protection from excess solar energy, plant protection from inclement weather such as hail, water conservation, agricultural employment, local food, improved health from pollution reduction increased revenue for farmers, a hedge against inflation, the potential to produce nitrogen fertilizer on farm, on farm production of renewable fuels such as anhydrous ammonia or hydrogen, and electricity for EV charging for on- or off-farm use.

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