February 10, 2023

Agrovoltaics: The perfect combination of solar energy and agriculture


Installing a solar rooftop has not one but multiple advantages. It helps you make, use, and own power for your home. And an elevated solar rooftop structure also has other benefits—it provides shade so the roof and the subsequent area below it do not get heated, it prevents water seepage and leakage in the roof by acting as a protective cover, and it also provides a great opportunity to grow vegetables, greens, and flowers.

Yes, you may have heard of agrovoltaics or agro-photovoltaics—it’s a practice where the same space is used both for solar photovoltaics and gardening or agriculture.

Mr. Sunil Mysore, CEO of Hinren Engineering (a Gold Installer Partner for Enphase India), shares that contrary to widespread belief, solar panels work most efficiently at temperatures under 25 degrees centigrade. What if you could have a solar power system that fed your kitchen with fresh veggies and optimised space? A new concept called “agrovoltaics” is just such an option. Installing panels over crops or gardens has proven benefits such as boosting solar production, protecting plants from harsh sunlight, and enhancing biodiversity while making rooftops more beautiful! Regular watering of the vegetation cools the area underneath the solar panels. Also, the plants release moisture, reducing the local ambient temperature further.

This video will show you how the space below a rooftop solar system has been converted into an incredible garden and work area.

In 2021, Mr. Sunil conducted a study to compare two PV plants at almost the same location, with the same microinverters and solar panels. In the picture below, you will see that one system called the Rooftop Agro PV System has most of the area below covered with vegetation. The other system called the Rooftop PV System is just panels and inverters above the concrete surface.

The analysis shows about a 5% increase in yield for the agrovoltaic system.

So, now you know that a rooftop system is not just about clean energy and savings in electricity costs. It gives you a great opportunity to grow fresh food on your roof, enjoy greater biodiversity, and protect your roof from extreme weather conditions.

If you want to know more about agrovoltaic systems, please write to sunil@hinren.com or akrishna@enphaseenergy.com.

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