농지에서 전력 생산? 전기농사, 신재생에너지 새로운 방안으로 떠올라
The need for clean, renewable energy is ever increasing.
That’s why a growing number of people are trying to convert their land to solar farms, generating power instead of produce.
Oh Jung-hee brings to light the benefits reaped as well as the side effects and the challenges faced by farmers who try their hands on this unique diversification.
Standing at the center of the Korean government’s nuclear-free, low-carbon energy plan… is a need to increase the production and supply of renewable, clean energy… from the current 4-point-8 percent to 20-percent by 2030.
Solar farming — producing electricity at farms that aren’t in use — is a much discussed possible solution.
Because 10-percent of Korea’s farmland is left idle and installing solar panels doesn’t harm the farms’ ecosystem… farms are quickly becoming places of electricity generation.
Additional profit from selling solar energy also helps farmers earn more.
“This farm has solar panels installed quite high above the ground,… distanced from each other to minimize their impact on the growth of rice plants below.”
Farmer Jung Ki-seop manages two farms of the same size, but one with solar panels and the other without.
It’s been a month and a half since he planted the rice crops… and he says, he can already see that installing solar panels above rice plants doesn’t necessarily lead to a large drop in total yield.
“I was really suspicious at first because installing solar panels would make shade. I was worried. But, as I now compare the rice plants below the solar panels with those not under the panels… they both grow well. In fact, those under the solar panels grow better.”
The farm fulfills its role in producing sufficient electricity, though the amount could differ depending on weather each day.
The target amount is 350 kilowatt hours a day… and the farm produced over 500 kilowatt hours of electricity the day before we had visited.
“All plants have a light saturation point, for rice its 70-percent. That means only 70-percent of the sunlight helps rice plants to grow, and the excess sunlight doesn’t help much. So our idea is to use the remaining 30-percent to produce solar energy.”
Solar farming can be an attractive option for farmers, but it could cause problems if it draws in too many farmers and too much land,… possibly leading to food security concerns and even conflicts between those farmers who earn more through solar farming and those who don’t.
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