Agrisolar Clearinghouse Icon

Techno-economic feasibility analysis of Benban solar Park

By 2035, Egypt pursues to generate 22% of the total electricity from photovoltaic power plants to meet the national spreading demand for electricity. The Egyptian government has implemented feed-in tariffs (FiT) support program to provide the economic incentives to invest in the PV power plants. The present study is carried out to evaluate the techno-economic feasibility of a largescale grid-connected photovoltaic (LS GCPV) of the Benban Solar Park with a total capacity of 1600 MW AC producing annual electricity of 3.8 TWh. The characteristics of PV panels considering the meteorological data of Benban Solar Park are evaluated. Additionally, the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to constructing Benban Solar Park is assessed. As well, the influences of annual operation and maintenance cost and the interest rate on the electricity cost and the payback period are evaluated. The results indicate that the electricity cost is about 8.1¢US/kWh with 10.1 years payback period, which is indeed economically feasible with an interest rate of 12%. Furthermore, the Benban Solar Park will avoid annually almost 1.2 million tons of greenhouse gas. The working conditions of the previous study which aimed to improve the performance of solar panels using cooling water are similar to the Benban solar Park. This study showed that utilizing of water cooling for solar panels leads to an increase in the electrical energy output by 8.2%. This attributed to maximizing the benefit when cultivating the vast land area on which the station is built, and using the irrigation water to cool the PV panels, and then for the irrigation process. Thus, a double advantage can be achieved; first, an increase in the electrical energy output by 8.2% in the summer months where the panel surface temperature is high. Second, the agricultural crops as an economic value, as the solar panels are located at a height of 1.5m from the surface of the earth. The PV solar panels are installed above the existing cultivated areas while the maintained spaces among rows of PV modules provide the necessary solar radiation for crops.
Agrisolar Clearinghouse Icon

Techno Economic Modeling for Agrivoltaics: Can Agrivoltaics be more profitable than Ground mounted PV?

Agrivoltaics is a dual land-use approach to collocate solar energy generation with agriculture for preserving the terrestrial ecosystem and enabling food-energy-water synergies. Here, we present a systematic approach to model the economic performance of agrivoltaics relative to standalone ground-mounted PV and explore how the module design configuration can affect the dual food-energy economic performance. A remarkably simple criterion for economic feasibility is quantified that relates the land preservation cost to dual food-energy profit. We explore case studies including both high and low value crops under fixed tilt bifacial modules oriented either along the conventional North/South facings or vertical East/West facings. For each module configuration, the array density is varied to explore an economically feasible design space relative to ground-mounted PV for a range of module to land cost ratio (𝑴𝑳) – a location-specific indicator relating the module technology (hardware and installation) costs to the soft (land acquisition, tax, overheads, etc.) costs. To offset a typically higher agrivoltaic module cost needed to preserve the cropland, both East/West and North/South orientated modules favor high value crops, reduced (<60%) module density, and higher 𝑴𝑳 (>𝟐𝟓). In contrast, higher module density and an increased feed-in-tariff (𝑭𝑰𝑻) relative to ground-mounted PV are desirable at lower 𝑴𝑳. The economic trends vary sharply for 𝑴𝑳< 10 but tend to saturate for 𝑴𝑳> 20. For low value crops, ~15% additional 𝑭𝑰𝑻 can enable economic equivalence to 𝑮𝑴𝑷𝑽 at standard module density. Researchers have presented a techno-economic modeling framework to assess and predict the economic performance of 𝐴𝑉 systems relative to the standard ground mounted 𝑃𝑉. The effects of module design configurations including array density and orientation, income from crop, technology specific and land related costs, and 𝐹𝐼𝑇 are explored. To support cropland preservation, 𝐴𝑉 typically has a higher module technology cost as compared to standard 𝑃𝑉 primarily due to elevated mounting and customized foundations that can potentially make it economically non-attractive for 𝑃𝑉 investors. They show that it is possible to design an economically attractive 𝐴𝑉 system by selecting suitable crops and module configuration for the given land costs and 𝐹𝐼𝑇.