Promotion of sustainable agriculture is one of the most priority development goal set by United Nations for achieving the food security to meet the ever-increasing global population food demand. Because of extreme importance of agriculture sector, significant technological developments have been made that played pivotal role for sustainable agriculture by value addition in agricultural products and meeting energy demands for machinery and irrigation. These developments include improved cultivation practices, processing units for agricultural products and operation of machinery and irrigation systems based on solar energy. Moreover, the emergence of new technologies and climate smart solutions with reduced carbon footprints have significantly addressed the ever-increasing fuel costs and changing climate needs. PV based solar irrigation pumps and agricultural machinery is typical example of this. Because, awareness of these technological development is essential to overcome energy issues, availability of energy to perform agricultural activities for sustainable agriculture at farm level and socioeconomic uplift of farming community to meet food requirements needs in the future. Therefore, this chapter attempts at providing the introduction of technologies for direct and indirect use of solar energy in the agriculture sector. The typical examples of direct use of solar energy like greenhouses or tunnel farming for cultivation of crops and vegetables and use of solar dryers for drying agricultural products have been comprehensively discussed. Similarly, the solar powered tubewells, tractors, and lights, etc. are few important examples of indirect use of solar energy and have also been discussed in this chapter. The indirect use is made possible by converting solar energy into electrical energy with the help of photovoltaic devices, called “solar cells”. Also radio frequency (RF)-controlled seed sowing and spreading machines are discussed, which provide an eco-friendly method. Moreover, comprehensive discussion is made on solar based technologies in general as well regional context in view of their potential to scale-up and to address anticipated issues. The use of photovoltaics in agriculture is expected to be significant contribution in the near future that require urgent planning for the potential benefits and efficient use at the farm level. Therefore, the co-existence of “agrovoltaics” will be essential for the developments of agriculture and agroindustry.
Part of the book: Technology in Agriculture