Renewable energy could often be land constrained by the diffuse nature of renewable resources. To relax land constraints, we propose the concept of ‘aglectric’ farming, where agricultural land will be sustainably shared for food and energy co-production. While wind turbines on agricultural land are already put into practice, solar power production on agricultural land is still under research. Here, we propose photovoltaic systems that are suitable for installation on agricultural land. Adjusting the intensity, spectral distribution and duration of shading allows innovative photovoltaic systems to achieve significant power generation without potentially diminishing agricultural output. The feasibility of solar aglectric farms has been proven through shadow modelling. The proposed solar aglectric farms—used alone or in combination with regular solar parks or wind plants—could be a solution for a sustainable renewable economy that supports the ‘full Earth’ of over 10 billion people.
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This work is supported by the Sustainable Food, Energy, and Water Systems programme, funded by National Science Foundation Research Traineeship Award 1735282.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Miskin, C.K., Li, Y., Perna, A. et al. Sustainable co-production of food and solar power to relax land-use constraints. Nat Sustain 2, 972–980 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-019-0388-x
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