As project developers continue to push the limits on tariff bids for solar power projects in India, innovation in the sector is also gathering pace.
A government-owned is looking to grow agricultural crop alongside solar power modules. Gujarat Industries Power Company Limited (GIPCL) has partnered with various agricultural universities to grow crop at solar power plants.
Researchers at Anand Agriculture University stated that the company shall implement a pilot project to grow paddy, castor, bajra, guar and vegetables over a 2.5 hectare area at a solar power plant. The pilot project will implemented at a 1 MW solar power plant owned by GIPCL with assistance from the Anand Agriculture University.
Importantly, the pilot project shall include cultivation of crops prevalent in all major seasons in India. Results of the pilot project shall be helpful to several thousands of farmers across the country.
Several state governments have been looking to integrate solar power into the farming sector to help farmer with a secondary income especially during a period of drought.
Farming alongside solar power panels may gain significance in India soon as the government has set a massive target of 100 GW operational solar power capacity by March 2022. As the installed capacity increases rapidly the conflict between farming and power plants would also likely increase.
Growing crops, or any other plants, at the solar field would also help protect the top soil which is, in many case, created through artificial means which levelling the solar field.