Professorial lecture introduces Agrivoltaics in the Philippines

Central Luzon State University (CLSU) and DA-BAR organized an international professorial lecture, titled Agrivoltaics: Integrating Solar Electricity with Agriculture to Deliver Food, Energy and Water Security on the Same Area of Land, on 13 October 2022 at CLSU, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija. 

Dr. Richard J. Randle-Boggis, research associate, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, led the professorial lecture. As discussed, Agrivoltaics is an application of solar panels integrated into agricultural system, both producing food and solar energy. The solar panels produce low carbon electricity. The Agrivoltaics system has now been demonstrated in East Africa and Tanzania. Examples of food crops to benefit from the system are wheat, tomatoes, lettuces, cabbages, broccoli, onions, potatoes, carrots, and vines. 

“The system also addresses sustainable development goal number seven for clean energy,” said Dr. Boggis. 

“The exciting thing about this technology is that if implemented with the right design, in the right context, this can address multiple development goals. This is a win-win for food and energy security,” he added. 

He further discussed that other socio-economic benefits provided by Agrivoltaics include electricity to the communities and job creation, as this new technology requires skilled workers to implement and install the technologies and the need for maintenance. 

Moreover, he emphasized that Agrivoltaics needs to be based on research that is conducted in the Philippine context, on Philippine crops. 

“It is important to develop the system based on the local context,” he said. 

Joining the conference were scientists, researchers, engineering students, and guests from CLSU, including officials (who attended virtually) from the DA bureaus and attached agencies, and its regional offices. 

The Agrivoltaics conference was part of the CLSU festival, which ran from 11-14 October bannering the theme, A Celebration of a High Impact CLSU. (### Lea B. Calmada)