Agrovoltaics could help California crops, if the economics pan out

Emerging research suggests growing tomato plants below and between solar panels could help the country’s billion-dollar-plus tomato industry, especially in places where it faces increasing stress from heat and drought.

Drought and extreme heat in California’s Central Valley in recent years has meant shortages of tomatoes, particularly “processing tomatoes” used for sauce and ketchup. And such conditions are only expected to get worse with climate change.

Researchers note that the relatively nascent field of agrovoltaics — growing crops below and between solar panels — could offer help to the country’s billion-dollar-plus tomato industry.

Shade provided by solar panels can help conserve water, create humidity, and lower temperatures that can become too much even for heat-loving tomatoes.

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Source: Energy News Network

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