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5 Practical Applications of Solar Energy on Farms

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Jane Marsh's picture
Editor Environment.co

Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co. She covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, renewable energy and more.

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Farms and agricultural businesses are searching for ways to enhance their operations with solar power. Luckily, going solar is declining in cost — enabling more installations in the U.S.

Solar energy applies to various farming and agricultural activities. From solar-powered tractors to pumping water for irrigation — here’s a closer look at these in detail.

1. Solar-Powered Tractors

Solar-powered tractors are most beneficial when you replace them with diesel-powered ones. In fact, solar-powered electric engines can increase operational efficiency by over 90% more than combustion engines — which are less than 15% efficient.

Solar tractors offer even greater advantages over their conventional counterparts. For instance, they can eliminate diesel emissions and noise, preventing hearing loss and lung damage while reducing air pollution.

In addition, you don’t have to waste gas and have fewer parts to maintain. However, making the full switch to solar tractors can be costly to your business. Farm owners could consider converting their existing tractors with solar panels to power them instead.

2. Remote Sensors

Sensor use is vital for collecting information on farms. Without them, it’s impossible to budget or anticipate problems with animal food, water consumption and soil quality data.

While sensors give you the power of analysis to analyze farms, you can also save time in your harvesting process by powering them with solar panels. Therefore, you can rely on the sun's power to monitor things like soil and weather conditions.

3. Floating Solar Panels

Many farmers in areas such as China and Japan use floating solar fields to enhance crop sufficiency and conserve land and water.

Floating solar panels — known as floatovoltaics — are similar to rooftop-mounted panels but float on rafts. The clearest advantage to installing floating solar fields is land conservation.

If you look toward the future, for sale land will be more challenging to find. Therefore, floating solar panels make the perfect solution. In addition, they can eliminate expenses on land maintenance and keep bodies of water cooler — fighting global warming in the long run.

4. Agrivoltaics

Rooftop solar panels are one way of reducing energy consumption. However, another solution is to use agrivoltaics — an effective method where farming and solar co-exist.

Using this method can help support livestock while farms operate emission-free. When installing agrivoltaics, sheep can graze underneath solar panels, which has produced many benefits.

For example, the panels provide shade for the sheep and grass. One benefit of the panels is that it prevents soil from drying out.

On the other hand, the panels have improved sheep wool because of the conditions they live in on land. Their wool is less contaminated, and the animals have a better pasture to graze.

Moreover, the sheep keep grass and weeds down. As a result, tall grass doesn’t interfere with the panels, and farmers don’t have to waste resources cutting it. Therefore, it’s a win-win situation for everyone.

5. Irrigation Systems and Water Pumps

Water is a fundamental aspect of farms. One major component of it is watering livestock remotely. Normally, farmers use well-pumps to make the process easier.

However, solar panels can benefit these systems by powering them with natural energy. As a result, you can pump water into the storage tanks while the sun is out.

In addition to water pumps, solar panels can also benefit your irrigation needs. You can replace your gas or electric sources with solar panels while still maintaining the use of original equipment.

Farms Have Limitless Opportunities With Solar Energy

Farms are often the most affected when it comes to climate change. Therefore, farming and agriculture businesses need to think about the future of their operations.

Solar-powered resources make sense in areas where water is scarce and electrical outages can interrupt the power supply. After all, adopting sustainable energy renewal can offer limitless opportunities in farming.

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