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Agrivoltaic Farm Design: Vertical Bifacial vs. Tilted Monofacial Photovoltaic Panels

Collocating solar photovoltaic (PV) technology with agriculture is a promising approach towards dual land productivity that could locally fulfil growing food and energy demands particularly in rural areas. This ’agrivoltaic’ (AV) solution can be highly suitable for hot and arid climates where an optimized solar panel coverage could prevent excessive thermal stress during harsh weather thereby increasing the crop yield and lowering the water budget. One of the concerns with using standard fixed tilt solar array structure that faces north/south (N/S) direction for AV farming is the spatial heterogeneity in the daily sunlight distribution for crops and soil water contents, both of which could affect crop yield. Dynamic tilt control through a tracking system can eliminate this problem but could increase the system cost and complexity. Here, we investigate east/west (E/W) faced vertical bifacial panel structure for AV farming and show that this could provide a much better spatial homogeneity for daily sunlight distribution relative to the fixed tilt N/S faced PV structure implying a better suitability for monoculture cropping.