Article: How Solar Panels Could Help Save Struggling Farms
Solar companies and farmers can work together to harvest sunlight for both energy and food.
Shade from solar panels can alleviate heat and reduce water losses by slowing evaporation from the soil. “Plants are like humans: If we are under the sun, we have to drink more water,” said Pierre Genin, director of international affairs at French solar development company Sun’Agri.
As far back as 10 years ago, intense sunlight and heat began degrading the taste and alcohol content of wine produced at vineyards in southern France, Genin said. Sun’Agri built a 2.2-megawatt solar array over 4.5 hectares of wine grapes at the vineyard Domaine de Nidoleres in 2018. The panels can be maneuvered to provide full sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon. The vines under the array used 20% less water, and the wine made from them has an improved acidity.