East Africa Launches First Agrivoltaic System

• East Africa launches its first solar and agricultural combined system.
• 55 percent of East Africa still don’t have access to electricity
• The Agrivoltaics system has been developed to solve both electricity and crop production problems.

The Agrivoltaics system is an initiative designed by Professor Sue Hartley as part of UKRI’s Global Challenges Research Fund Collective Programme.

The Agrivoltaics system has been co-developed with local agriculture and energy experts to deliver solar electricity, crop production, and rainwater harvesting on the same land area to provide multiple energy and food security benefits.

This interdisciplinary approach underpins the University of Sheffield’s research in sustainable development, food and energy security, building on the expertise of flagship research institutes, including the Energy Institute and Institute for Sustainable Food.

Agrivoltaic energy systems can significantly improve the productivity of crops because the shade provided by the panel arrays reduces heat stress and water loss.

Today, the event at Latia Agribusiness Centre in Isinya, Kenya, will include a tour of the Agrivoltaics system and knowledge sharing talks on crop yields. Benefits to farmer incomes, clean energy production and savings on electricity costs, rainwater harvesting, and irrigation will also be discussed.