From niche-innovation to mainstream markets: Drivers and challenges of industry adoption of agrivoltaics in the U.S.


Agrivoltaic systems harmonize agriculture and solar energy to mitigate land use competition, strengthen agricultural viability and resilience, and enhance solar development practice. Innovations in agrivoltaics has gained traction globally yet exist in niche-application and early adoption stages in the U.S. While initial research has emphasized technical and economic performance, critical questions remain about stakeholder adoption, social acceptance, and the role of policymakers. To better define the socio-political landscape for agrivoltaic development, we leverage qualitative interviews with U.S. solar professionals. We articulate key sets of drivers and challenges of industry adoption and their interactions. The findings suggest that overcoming the challenges impeding U.S. solar industry adoption of agrivoltaics will require robust market mechanisms that stimulate price improvements as well as coordinated, cross-sector learning processes, research, and regulation. We maintain that socio-political adaptations, coupled with techno-economic advances in price and performance, may constitute the key improvements of the development landscape for agrivoltaics in the U.S. Multi-stakeholder considerations and the co-evolution of technology, practice, and regulation are discussed in the context of developing the enabling framework conditions to progress agrivoltaics from niche-innovation to mainstream markets.

energy policy