Many people may think of agriculture and renewables as two distant topics with very little overlap in between. After all, an array of solar panels or wind turbines isn’t exactly the first thing you expect to see on a farm. However, there is a natural fit between the two industries, with many early adopters and a significant potential for growth.
Along these lines, there are typically three forms of renewable energy that can regularly be produced by the agricultural industry; biomass, wind, and solar energy. These three resources are essentially limitless, providing farmers with a permanent alternative to replace other fuels/energy sources, or providing a long-term source of income if the harvested energy is sold as a “cash crop.”
The Role of Solar
When it comes to solar, the sun provides many benefits to farms, helping to make them more sustainable and efficient in a variety of ways:
Photovoltaics can power farm operations and remote water pumps, lights, and electric fences
Solar energy can be harvested to cut a farm’s electricity and heating bills or provide an additional source of income
Given that installing solar power is often less expensive than extending power lines, photovoltaics is a cost-effective solution to meeting the energy needs of a farm. On top of that, solar tracking systems make a photovoltaic array more efficient by allowing the highest uptime and energy output.
What We Learned from the World Ag Expo
The agriculture industry clearly has a significant potential for solar power and solar tracking systems. To find out more, we recently attended the World Ag Expo along with a couple of our partners, RP Construction Services and Pickett Solar. Below are some key considerations we took away from the event.