Solar - October 7, 2022
Oregon State to Optimize Agrivoltaic Systems for Solar
Construction is underway on a $1.5 million project that will allow researchers at Oregon State University to optimize agrivoltaic systems that involve developing land for both solar photovoltaic power and agriculture.
The five-acre Solar Harvest project is located at Oregon State’s North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora, Oregon and is a partnership between Oregon State and the Oregon Clean Power Cooperative, which developed the solar array. The members of the cooperative financed construction of the solar array.
“There has been a huge increase in interest in agrivoltaics just in the past few years,” said Chad Higgins, an associate professor in Oregon State’s College of Agricultural Sciences who is leading the effort to construct the farm, in a statement. “It’s clear agrivoltaic projects are going to happen, but people want to know where to build these projects and how to design the systems to get the greatest return. Those are types of questions we will address with this project.”
Agrivoltaic systems can improve food production, reduce water usage and create energy and additional revenue, according to research conducted by Higgins. One of his recent studies found that co-developing land for both solar photovoltaic power and agriculture could provide 20% of total electricity generation in the U.S. with an investment of less than 1% of the annual U.S. budget.