Special solar panels for agrivoltaics

Jul 23, 2020 03:52 PM ET
  • BayWa r.e. as well as GroenLeven have created unique monocrytalline photovoltaic panels for 5 pilot agrivoltaic projects they are releasing in the Netherlands. They are examining weather-resistant 240 W glass-glass panels with various transparency degrees.
Special solar panels for agrivoltaics
Image: GroenLeven

BayWa r.e. and its Dutch subsidiary, GroenLeven, are developing five pilot agrivoltaic power projects in the Netherlands, where they are examining five different sorts of crops: blueberries, red currants, raspberries, strawberries, as well as blackberries.

The largest of the projects-- a 2.67 MW solar plant released on a 3.2-hectare surface dedicated to raspberry cultivation-- lies in the Dutch community of Zevenaar, near the city of Arnhem at the Dutch-German border.

Both firms are not counting on typical PV modules for the project, as such items are taken into consideration inappropriate in an efficient agrivoltaic projectr. "We have actually made use of special monocrystalline solar panels that were generated to our specs," Willem De Vries, project supervisor for AgriPV at GroenLeven, told pv publication.

De Vries stated the unique demands are related to openness, as plants below the panels require to obtain enough light, while being safeguarded by a foil cover from straight sunlight, rain, hail as well as frost. De Vries claimed that the sunshine hitting the raspberries ought to not be also strong.

" So far, we built two different pilot projects, with two kinds of panels with different degrees of transparency," he explained. "With enhanced panel openness, the crop yield expands significantly."

GroenLeven used 260 W glass-glass panels which weigh greater than their 'typical' equivalents, at approximately 35 kg per panel. "We used fairly thick glass layers, to really feel even more secure that the panels would hold back any weather type," De Vries included, without revealing extra technological details.

Easy air conditioning is applied to the plants in two different means. Initially, the panels absorb several of the inbound radiation. Second, the modules are established as though the air can pass through them. The all-natural airflow makes sure that the ambience under the plants is cooler than ambient problems, as well as much cooler than typical foil treatments.

Warm dissipation

Raspberries are expanded with support group made of timber, concrete as well as metal. GroenLeven and also BayWa r.e. made a decision to change such frameworks with new layouts and also unique panels. "The placing systems were additionally made especially for this project as well as it is the first time that it has actually been used," De Vries added.

GroenLeven claimed the sustaining frameworks were developed so warm is rapidly carried away in a passive manner. "We learned that the specific percentage of light is very crucial, but we additionally discovered that the environment under the photovoltaic panels is structurally better than under the standard plastic covering," he claimed. "We can see this currently in our monitoring. On warm days, the temperature level under the panels is 5 degrees lower than under the plastic coverings, as well as even 2 levels lower than in ambient circumstances."

This warm dissipation is helpful for the plants. During the night, the temperature under the panels is greater, as they keep the warmth far better than the plastic coverings. This result is taken into consideration valuable for the plants. "The humidity is additionally a lot more steady under the panels as contrasted to standard treatments," De Vries said.

The brand-new support structures are additionally beneficial to farmers, as they are said to be much less vulnerable to solid winds, for this reason, much less or no labor is required compared to standard foil-based growing systems. "Our arrangement does not rupture as a result of winds, neither does it fly away or move off the structure," De Vries claimed. "This all happens to plastic covering. If strong winds take place the plastic glides off, ruptures or simply flies away. Our installation conserves the farmer some worrisome evenings."

Both business are currently designing the frameworks in partnership with unrevealed "relied on providers."

Expense factors to consider

Although both firms have yet to give specifics on project expenses and also the levelized expense of energy, De Vries said that farmers will certainly benefit financially. They can save on assistance structures, which are currently integrated right into the solar installing systems.

" At this stage the prices of AgriPV installments are certainly considerably more than for ground-mounted setups," De Vries claimed. "But those will drop due to experience, optimizations as well as a supply chain that obtains utilized to our unique requests."

The two firms expect the understructure as well as the panels to decrease in cost once the vendors have obtained adequate orders. "And our internal expenses will certainly likewise enhance even more as a result of experience," Stephan Schindele, head of AgriPV at BayWa r.e.," told pv publication.

Plant high quality

The pilot agrivoltaic projects are boosting plant yield, but additionally quality, according to the designers. Farmers may be happy to approve reduced yields if quality and rates is greater, or if overall production top quality increases at lower prices.

Raspberries can handling color. "This year we have actually also begun pilots with numerous various other berries and we highly think that all plants will certainly have their own needs and also will certainly react in a different way to the circumstances developed by agrivoltaics," Schindele said. "It is consequently essential to get experience with numerous crops."

New mindset

According to Schindele as well as De Vries, project advancement in this segment calls for skilled developers. "Solar radiation designers are needed for this kind of projects," De Vries stated.

Schindele kept in mind that "light is an essential aspect for PV power generation," yet added that it is likewise "essential for agricultural." A 50/50 sharing of light is possible, but except all type of plants and also environments. "So much, very little research has been carried out in this respect," De Vries said.

The two business assert to be in a distinct market setting, as they can draw from competence in both PV project growth and agribusiness. Yet there is still a long way to go for this modern technology, especially for the panel tech, they stated.

"If we can make use of more of the UV and also infrared range for the PV system, as an example, this will certainly raise the total performance," De Vries claimed, including that he wants to improve the understructures by reducing the amount of steel used to boost light transmissivity.

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