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Potential and Challenges of Farm-based Solar Power Generation

Associate Professor, Faculty of Agriculture


Have you heard of farm-based solar power agrivoltaics?

Agrivoltaics is an effort to install a solar power generation system on agricultural land to share the sunlight for agricultural production and power generation. This effort is expected to contribute to carbon neutrality and improve agricultural management. However, this effort is just beginning to spread in Japan.

One problem with its spread is that the solar power generation system can result in a decrease in the yield of crops grown under the system and a decrease in workability depending on how the system is installed. However, these impacts are mostly identified empirically and qualitatively but the extent of these impacts is not fully understood, so devising responses and determining whether or not to install the system from the perspective of agricultural management is difficult, thus hindering the spread of the system.

In order to identify these problems, our laboratory is currently conducting a series of surveys and analyses of the growing conditions (e.g., temperature and solar radiation), growth, and yield of rice plants in several rice paddy fields with a solar power generation system in Yamagata Prefecture. This is because there is a very high potential for horizontal deployment in Japan, given the large area of rice paddies and established mechanized rice paddy production. We are also studying the impact on the landscape and the attitude of local residents toward acceptance of agrivoltaics.

In the future, we would like to help solve the food self-sufficiency and energy problems in Japan by examining the cultivation of other crops in conjunction with agrivoltaics. 

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