The practice of co-locating solar panel (photovoltaic) infrastructure and agriculture by planting crops under the shade of solar panels is called agrivoltaics.
Greg Barron-Gafford, associate professor at the University of Arizona, shows that combining these two systems — solar panel (photovoltaic) infrastructure and agriculture — can create a mutually beneficial relationship. According to Barron-Gafford, “In an agrivoltaic system, the environment under the panels is much cooler in the summer and stays warmer in the winters. This not only lessens rates of evaporation of irrigation waters in the summer, but it also means that plants don’t get as stressed out. Crops that grow under lower drought stress require less water, and because they don’t wilt as easily midday due to heat, they are able to photosynthesize longer and grow more efficiently.”
The solar panels also benefit from the co-location. When it is very sunny, solar panels begin under-performing because they become too hot. The evaporation of water from the crops creates a cooling effect that reduces heat stress on the panels and therefore increase their performance.
For more details: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190729123751.htm