Photo credit: Solar sharing at Chiba on Takazawa’s farm (renewable energyworld.com)
Farmers in Japan are taking advantage of new opportunities to generate electricity while growing crops. In April 2013, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) approved the installation of solar PV system on crop-producing farms, which was previously prohibited under the Agricultural Land Act, regardless of whether the land is productive or idle .
The practice of food and energy double-generation, known as “solar sharing” in Japan, was originally developed by Akira Nagashima in 2004. Nagashima, a retired agricultural machinery engineer, studied biology and learned of the light saturation point at which increase in the level of sunlight does not cause any further increase in the rate of photosynthesis.