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Cleaner Tech

Electric Farms Are Using Solar Power to Grow Profits and Crops

 

Growing crops beneath solar panels is an innovative way to use farmland to generate renewable energy, especially in countries with limited space such as Japan.

A worker cultivates a field under solar panels. Solar sharing involves the simultaneous use of farmland for producing crops and generating power.

A worker cultivates a field under solar panels. Solar sharing involves the simultaneous use of farmland for producing crops and generating power.

Photographer: Toru Hanai/Bloomberg

In many respects, Takeshi Magami’s farm is like any other in Japan, growing everything from potatoes to ginger and eggplants. But one major difference sets it apart from its neighbors: the 2,826 solar panels perched above the crops. 

The panels, covering much of the one hectare (2.5 acres) of land in the tranquil countryside east of Tokyo, serve a dual purpose. They supply nearly all the power needed to run the farm, and are a source of extra income by selling surplus renewable energy to the grid.