SPLTRAK Abstract Submission
Implications of Agriculturally Co-Located Solar PV Installations on the FEW Nexus in the Central Valley
Jacob T Stid1, Siddharth Shukla1, Annick Anctil1, Anthony D Kendall1, David W Hyndman2
1Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, United States
/2The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX, United States

Understanding agriculturally co-located solar PV installation practices and preferences is imperative to foster a future where solar power and agriculture co-exist with limited impact on agricultural production. We investigate the impacts of adjacently co-locating solar PV and agriculture on agricultural fields in California’s Central Valley. We recently developed a comprehensive remotely-sensed dataset of 694 arrays (2,052 MW) which are agriculturally adjacent co-located. We calculated the food production, electricity generation, and change in water consumption relative to the prior agricultural land use for the expected 25 year lifespan of each array. We calculated that by 2042, these arrays which converted 34 km2 of cropland would remove 1.7 trillion kcal of crop from production. Assuming cropland irrigation was forgone rather than redistributed, the total forgone irrigation water use exceeded operation and maintenance water use by a factor of 7. We also estimated the expected value of generated electricity and show that these installations are profitable, typically exceeding lost revenue from agricultural production by a factor of 15. With its profitability, agricultural co-location will likely continue to expand. Unregulated conversion of high value land could have impacts on future crop prices and availability. Thus, our research suggests the need to account for location-specific food and water resources when co-locating solar PV to reduce impacts on U.S. agricultural production and water as solar becomes more prevalent. Our results also indicate a potential use of renewable energy as a method for agricultural risk management in regions of high water stress and years of drought.