Matthew Kleinhenz, professor and extension vegetable specialist in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, has been awarded a 2021-2022 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to Australia for “User-defined Barriers to Agrivoltaics, A Promising Energy-Farming System.”
From February 2022 – May 2022 while based at Central Queensland University in Australia, Kleinhenz will work with representatives of the solar energy and farming sectors and community leadership to better understand and develop ways to enhance the utilization of agrivoltaics (AV).
“AV concepts are strong and early-stage tests are promising but also reveal challenges to wider adoption. This project will help chart a way forward that addresses a wide range of questions,” explains Kleinhenz, who manages the Vegetable Production Systems Lab at Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster. “My collaborator and I will partner with industry, organization leaders, scientists, educators, and others to: 1) summarize current agrivoltaic (AV) use in Australia; 2) examine perceptions of and attitudes toward, and experiences with AV in Australia; and 3) use our quantitative and qualitative findings to educate people about AV and factors currently limiting its use. Gaining perspective on possible next steps in optimizing AV in Australia and elsewhere, especially as horticultural crops are involved, and facilitating additional partnerships with Central Queensland University are additional goals.”
Kleinhenz notes that the project represents a true collaboration across scientific disciplines and private- and public-sector professionals with opportunities for both participating universities and their partners and stakeholders to benefit.