Agrivoltaics or dual-use solar is the simultaneous use of land for both solar photovoltaic power generation and agriculture. The coexistence of solar panels and crops implies a sharing of light between these two types of production; however, in some cases crop yield increases due to the shade of the solar panels mitigating some of the stress on plants caused by high temperatures and UV damage.
Farmers often lose their family-businesses after leasing land to solar developers as they are not able to utilize the land once leased. Through agrivoltaic development, farmers receive land lease revenue, electricity bill reductions, and most importantly, keep their farms active.
U.S. farmland is eroded by commercial- and utility-scale solar development that "locks up" land for up to 35 years. This adds risk to the nation's well-being given imminent food shortages due to global warming.
Large amounts of water are needed to grow crops at commercial scale. Shading from single-axis tracking solar panels increases water retention in the soil, improves soil quality, and protects plants from harmful direct sunlight, promoting healthier harvests.
Okovate develops commercial-scale and community solar agrivoltaics projects from scratch, working with food crop farmers in select markets.
Our development process starts with creating buy-in from farmers and landowners. Then we consult designing services with agrivoltaic engineers to understand both crop and solar energy production from the potential array. After initial diligence, we start permitting with the local jurisdictions and interconnection processes with the utility.
Okovate pioneered a risk solution called the AgriLease which works as a vehicle to guarantee market rate payment for crops grown under panels for first 1-2 years after substantial completion of system in attempt to seamlessly recommercialize the farm.
Okovate will provide reports on crop quality after the first harvest and provide to the farmer's former buyers to prove crop quality was unchanged or improved.
Currently, Okovate sells Pre-NTP projects (pre-construction) to asset owners/investors at a low development fee, but we aspire to evolve into our own IPP to create long-term relationships with farmers and their land.