Dual use of agricultural land: Introducing ‘agrivoltaics’ in Phoenix Metropolitan Statistical Area, USA

Debaleena Majumdar, Martin Pasqualetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper proposes ‘agrivoltaic’ system development within Phoenix Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) with the objective to generate clean energy in the agricultural lands using solar PV (Photovoltaics) systems thus reducing land commitment and also preserving the agricultural land in the process. Phoenix MSA comprises of two of the fastest growing counties in United States. The study finds that with half density panel distribution, private agricultural lands in the APS (Arizona Public Service) service territory can generate about 8 times the current residential energy demand and 3.4 times the current total energy requirements of the residential, commercial and industrial sectors in the MSA. The Indian Reservation land in the SRP (Salt River Project) service territory has the capacity to generate all of the current residential energy requirement. Most of the agricultural land lies within 1 mile of the 230 and 500 kV transmission lines and is capable of producing 137.5 and 77.5 million MWh of energy. However, with half density panel distribution, an agricultural land received about 60% of direct sunlight compared to a land with no panels. Farmlands have the capacity to generate energy which is significantly more than that required for crop production. Analysis shows that about 50% of the agricultural land sales would have made up for the price of the sale within 2 years with agrivoltaic systems. The effect of preserving the agricultural land and creating a natural growth boundary on urban growth patterns in the rapidly sprawling Phoenix MSA is left as scope for future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-168
Number of pages19
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Volume170
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2018

Keywords

  • Agricultural land
  • Agrivoltaics
  • Dual landuse
  • Energy planning
  • Solar photovoltaic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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