Farmers in Japan can now generate solar electricity while growing crops on the same farmland. In April, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) approved the installation of PV systems on existing crop-producing farmland. Previously solar generation on farmland, productive or idle, was prohibited under the Agricultural Land Act.
This co-existence or double-generation is known as “Solar Sharing” in Japan. The concept was originally developed by Akira Nagashima in 2004, who was a retired agricultural machinery engineer who later studied biology and learned the “light saturation point.” The rate of photosynthesis increases as the irradiance level is increased; however at one point, any further increase in the amount of light that strikes the plant does not cause any increase to the rate of photosynthesis.