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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

Farmers Benefit from Harvesting Solar Energy

Rows of solar panels on farmland


Researchers calculate that devoting about 1 percent of U.S. farmland to agrivoltaics, the emerging practice of integrating solar installations with working farmland, would satisfy about 20 percent of present electricity demand. Agrivoltaics can reduce emissions, save water and possibly even boost crop yields. 

A 2019 study from the University of Utah and Oregon State University found that the best places for solar installations tend to be the areas where we already grow food, because photovoltaic (PV) panels lose their efficiency at higher temperatures. By elevating the panels far enough above the ground, we can essentially harvest the sun twice, according to University of Arizona researcher Greg Barron-Gafford. Enough sunlight to grow crops gets past the panels, which act as a shield against extreme heat, drought and storms.

Solar panels reduce the amount of sunlight hitting the soil, “which means you have less evaporation of water,” says Barron-Gafford. He and his team were able to triple the yield of chiltepin peppers by growing them under PV panels on test plots versus unshaded control plots. Cherry tomato output doubled, and the soil on the PV plots retained 5 to 15 percent more moisture between waterings. “The plants aren’t just freeloading under the solar, they actually help the panels become more efficient,” he adds.

5 Top Tips to Finding Your Next Doctor

1 Keep an Open Mind! Healthcare has come a long way. Today, you have access to practitioners that branch outside of traditional medicine and aim to identify the root causes of conditions while using alternative treatments that may help you get the relief you need. Just because it’s not a pill, doesn’t make it pseudoscience.

2 Build Your Health Care Team. There is no one doctor that can be the be-all-end-all for your health needs. Be sure to have a team of practitioners with different “lenses” and areas of expertise who will treat the root cause and not just the symptom(s).

3   Environment Influences Healing. Health is multi-factorial. Your mental and emotional environment plays a pivotal role in your healing potential. Your doctors and their staff should create an office atmosphere filled with positivity so you can get the most out of your care.

4 Your Story Matters.  Before you begin any treatment, be sure to have a comprehensive consultation to discuss your health concerns. Find practitioners who welcome questions and will take the time to listen and treat you with respect.

5 Report of Findings. When it comes to our health, we often make decisions without understanding the risk versus benefits. Knowledge is an important part of the healing process and is essential to make conscious, informed health decisions. Find practitioners who take the time to explain their exam findings and the recommendations for treatment in ways that make sense to you.

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