Agrivoltaics as a Lifeline for Rural Farmers and California's Renewable Energy Goals
Agrivoltaics, the concept of using solar energy systems to enhance agricultural production and generate renewable energy on the same plot of land, offers a lifeline to beleaguered farmers and communities facing water shortages, cost increases, and marginal agricultural profitability. This concept seeks to aid California in its ambitious renewables portfolio standard, and could reduce the impacts of climate change and the toll agricultural operations take on the San Joaquin Valley’s groundwater resources. However, agrivoltaics is a novel and emergent concept, and calls for adjusting California’s legal framework to better support it. This Article serves to bring greater attention to agrivoltaics and to further identify potential barriers to its application, while suggesting fair and reasoned solutions and identifying paths where its agricultural components provide either meaningful opportunities or unique challenges that could be mitigated.