This article discusses solar panel efficiency as a function of the location’s microclimate within which it is immersed. Researchers present a model for solar panel efficiency that incorporates the influence of the panel’s microclimate, derived from first principles and validated with field observations. The model proves that PV panel efficiency is influenced by insolation, air temperature, wind speed, and relative humidity. The researchers then classified solar power production potential based on local land cover classification and found that croplands have the greatest median solar potential. Agrivoltaic systems may alleviate land competition or other spatial constraints for solar power development, creating a significant opportunity for future energy sustainability.

This article, written by AgriSolar Clearinghouse partners at Argonne National Lab and NREL, discusses the results of a five-year field study to understand how insect communities respond to newly established habitat on solar energy facilities in agricultural landscapes. Researchers found an increase in all habitat and biodiversity metrics, including a rise in abundance and diversity for both flowering plants and insects. Positive effects on the frequency of bee visitation to a nearby soybean field were also recorded. Their observations provide support for solar-pollinator habitat as a feasible conservation practice to safeguard biodiversity and increase food security in agricultural landscapes.

This study discusses the development of a wood-based PV vertical racking design, created to help overcome cost barriers present with commercially available vertical racks. This design is constructed with domestic renewable and sustainable materials, buildable by the average farmer, has a 25-year lifetime that aligns with most PV warranties, and follows Canadian building codes to weather high wind speeds and heavy snow loads.

Agrivoltaics comprises solar energy generation and agricultural activities co-located to create multi-purpose agricultural solar energy systems. In 2021, the global agrivoltaics sector was valued at USD $3.6 billion and is projected to grow to USD $9.3 billion by 2031. Agrivoltaics projects have successfully attracted increasing investment and research demonstrating the technical, economic, and scientific rationale to advance agrivoltaics as a crucial technology to achieve net zero emissions goals. The legal framework enabling agrivoltaics development is at varying stages of maturity across different jurisdictions. This study provides the first socio-legal study of agrivoltaics development applying an energy justice framework.

This paper focuses on integrating agrivoltaics systems within super-intensive olive groves in the Mediterranean region. A dual model is used to calculate the suitable transparency of PV modules, representing the area not occupied by PV cells.

This report updates readers on new research in dual-use solar and explores important considerations for the implementation of dual-use solar in the Pacific Northwest region. In the last few years, new findings suggest there are many environmental and economic benefits of creating multi functional systems that combine and prioritize multiple land uses. New research of dual-use solar facilities shows increased yields in some crops and decreased water needs; benefits to grazing animals such as decreased heat stress; improved ecosystem services such as better water quality, erosion control, carbon storage, and pollination services; and further opportunities for dual-use implementation.

Realizing that less effort has been made to reconcile solar development with biodiversity conservation, researchers in this article provide a framework that uses a unique land-sharing approach and is based on five pillars that cover key aspects of solar park planning and maintenance: (1) eco-smart siting in the landscape, which considers ecological interactions with the landscape matrix and trade-offs between multiple small vs. fewer large solar parks; (2) eco-smart park layout to address the ecological aspects of the spatial configuration of solar park infrastructure; (3) creation of diverse, novel grassland ecosystems with high ecosystem service provisioning capacity using a trait-based ecosystem design approach; (4) management of the novel ecosystem throughout the lifespan of the solar parks; and (5) ensuring stakeholder engagement to integrate this in a viable business model with high community acceptance.

By Carl Berntsen, NCAT Energy Engineer
May 2023

This guide serves as an introduction to the solar industry, relative to agrisolar development in the United States, community programs, and solar ownership or lease opportunities for homes, farms, and ranches. It covers ownership options for small-scale, single-user solar installations, community solar installations that distribute power throughout a community, and utility-scale installations that sell power to the utility, as well as common utility-scale land-lease components for landowners looking to allow a developer to construct and operate a solar installation on a portion of their land. Finally, using nationwide average statistics on production and cost, the guide offers a financial snapshot of a utility-scale solar installation.

This paper highlights the higher annual solar irradiation incident of single-axis N-S trackers installed on sloping terrain, as compared to horizontal ones. Researchers showcase the results of a year-long experiment in which a N-S aligned single-axis tracker prototype was used in Gijón, Spain. The experimental results confirm the trends in the formulas and simulations. Finally, theoretical values for the energy gain for different slopes, at locations over the northern hemisphere between latitudes of 6◦ and 60◦ are provided. These gains can reach values up to 13.5%.