Multidimensional role of agrovoltaics in era of EU Green Deal: Current status and analysis of water-energy-food-land dependencies

A. Roxani, A. Zisos, G.-K. Sakki, and A. Efstratiadis, Multidimensional role of agrovoltaics in era of EU Green Deal: Current status and analysis of water-energy-food-land dependencies, Land, 12 (5), 1069, doi:10.3390/land12051069, 2023.



The European Green Deal has set climate and energy targets for 2030 and the goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, while supporting energy independence and economic growth. Following these goals, and as expected, the transition to “green” renewable energy is growing and will be intensified, in the near future. One of the main pillars of this transition, particularly for Mediterranean countries, is solar photovoltaic (PV) power. However, this is the least land-efficient energy source, while it is also highly competitive in food production, since solar parks are often developed in former agricultural areas, thus resulting in the systematic reduction in arable lands. Therefore, in the context of PV energy planning, the protection and preservation of arable lands should be considered a key issue. The emerging technology of agrovoltaics offers a balanced solution for both agricultural and renewable energy development. The sustainable “symbiosis” of food and energy under common lands also supports the specific objective of the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy, regarding the mitigation of and adaptation to the changing climate, as well as the highly uncertain socio-economic and geopolitical environment. The purpose of this study is twofold, i.e., (a) to identify the state of play of the technologies and energy efficiency measures of agrovoltaics, and (b) to present a comprehensive analysis of their interactions with the water–energy–food–land nexus. As a proof of concept, we consider the plain of Arta, which is a typical agricultural area of Greece, where we employ a parametric analysis to assess key features of agrovoltaic development with respect to energy vs. food production, as well as water saving, as result of reduced evapotranspiration.

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