What are the high hurdles for India to uplift its people and realise its potential on the world stage? Two of the most significant ones are securing food for its large population and providing enough energy to power homes and industries.
As it has always been, land, as a resource, is a precious commodity for both farming, and energy production. On the one hand, it is estimated that nearly 58 percent of India’s 1.2 billion people are engaged in agriculture, which occupies 60 percent of its total land area.
On the other hand, to generate electricity, the country requires thousands of square kilometres of land for coal mines, thermal power plants, and renewable energy projects to meet its energy needs.
A 2019 study noted that fulfilling India’s 2022 goal of 175 GW of renewable energy could impact agricultural areas nearly the size of Himachal Pradesh.
Solar power projects that will contribute to more than half of our 450 GW renewable energy target by 2030, require a lot of land for its most popular form of large solar parks. In places where a solar project eyes fertile and cultivated land, it could lead to social unrest from people directly or indirectly losing livelihoods. This, in turn, means delays and financial losses for energy companies.
What is the solution to this complex challenge? Agricultural and energy researchers are turning to one design-based solution to optimise land usage. The idea is to use the same plot of land to harvest crops…and energy by placing solar panels over fields. The system is called agrivoltaics.
In this episode, we will hear from some of the forerunners in agrivoltaics in India. They'll speak about the potential and roadblocks in the field. We'll discuss what this new way of looking at farmland could mean for a key stakeholder in agrivoltaics - the farmer.
Listen to GigaWhat and explore some of the biggest questions, challenges, and opportunities in India's transition from fossil fuel to clean energy sources. Mongabay-India is an online publication dedicated to bringing you stories on science and the environment in India.
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Nutan Kaushik, Director General, Amity Food and Agriculture Foundation
Maximilian Vorast, Research Assistant, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems
Shravan Sampath, CEO, Oakridge Energy
Agrivoltaics in India: Fertile Ground?
Agriculture in India
Agrivoltaics in India: Overview of operational Projects and relevant Policies
Renewable Energy and Land Use in India: A Vision to Facilitate Sustainable Development
Host: Mayank Aggarwal
Writer and producer: Kartik Chandramouli
Audio editor: Tejas Dayananda Sagar
Copy editor: Priyanka Shankar
Podcast production assistant: Ayushi Kothari
Episode cover art: Mohit Negi
GigaWhat cover art: Pooja Gupta