This research presents a highly transparent concentrator photovoltaic system with solar spectral splitting for dual land use applications. The system includes a freeform lens array and a planar waveguide. Sunlight is first concentrated by the lens array and then reaches a flat waveguide. The dichroic mirror with coated prisms is located at each focused area at the bottom of a planar waveguide to split the sunlight spectrum into two spectral bands. The red and blue light, in which photosynthesis occurs at its maximum, passes through the dichroic mirror and is used for agriculture. The remaining spectrums are reflected at the dichroic mirror with coated prisms and collected by the long solar cell attached at one end of the planar waveguide by total internal reflection. Meanwhile, most of the diffused sunlight is transmitted through the system to the ground for agriculture. The system was designed using the commercial optic simulation software LightTools™ (Synopsys Inc., Mountain View, CA, USA). The results show that the proposed system with 200× concentration can achieve optical efficiency above 82.1% for the transmission of blue and red light, 94.5% for diffused sunlight, which is used for agricultural, and 81.5% optical efficiency for planar waveguides used for power generation. This system is suitable for both high Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) and low DNI areas to provide light for agriculture and electricity generation at the same time on the same land with high efficiency.
The increasing pressure on land resources for food and energy production along with efforts to maintain natural systems necessitates the development of compatible land uses that maximize the co-benefits of multiple ecosystem services. One such land sharing opportunity is the restoration and management of native grassland vegetation beneath ground-mounted solar energy facilities, which can both protect biodiversity and restore related ecosystem services. In this paper, the researchers applied the InVEST modeling framework to investigate the potential response of four ecosystem services (carbon storage, pollinator supply, sediment retention, and water retention) to native grassland habitat restoration at 30 solar facilities across the Midwest United States. Compared to pre-solar agricultural land uses, solar-native grassland habitat produced a 3-fold increase in pollinator supply and a 65% increase in carbon storage potential. The researchers also observed increases in sediment and water retention of over 95% and 19%, respectively. They applied these results to project the potential benefits of adoption of native grassland management practices in current and future solar energy buildout scenarios. Their study demonstrates how multifunctional land uses in agriculture-dominated landscapes may improve the provision of a variety of ecosystem services and improve the landscape compatibility of renewable energy and food production. These findings may be used to build cooperative relationships between the solar industry and surrounding communities to better integrate solar energy into agricultural landscapes.
Colloidal quantum dots (QDs) are nanometer-sized semiconductor crystals grown via low-cost solution processing routes for a wide array of applications encompassing photovoltaics, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), electronics, photodetectors, photocatalysis, lasers, drug delivery, and agriculture. A comprehensive technoeconomic cost analysis of perovskite quantum dot optoelectronics is reported. Using economies-of-scale considerations based on price data from prominent materials suppliers, we have highlighted that increased QD synthesis yield, solvent recycling, and synthesis automation are critical to market adoption of this technology and driving quantum dot film fabrication costs down from >$50/m^2 to ∼$2−3/m^2
Solar electricity from solar parks in rural areas are cost effective and can be deployed fast therefore play an important role in the energy transition. The optimal design of a solar park is largely affected by income scheme, electricity transport capacity, and land lease costs. Important design parameters for utility-scale solar parks that may affect landscape, biodiversity, and soil quality are ground coverage ratio, size, and tilt of the PV tables. Particularly, low tilt PV at high coverage reduces the amount of sunlight on the ground strongly and leads to deterioration of the soil quality over the typical 25-year lifetime. In contrast, vertical PV or an agri-PV designed fairly high above the ground leads to more and homogeneous ground irradiance; these designs are favored for pastures and croplands. In general, the amount and distribution of ground irradiance and precipitation will strongly affect which crops can grow below and between the PV tables and whether this supports the associated food chain. As agrivoltaics is the direct competition between photosynthesis and photovoltaics. Understanding when, where and how much light reaches the ground is key to relate the agri-PV solar park design to the expected agricultural and electricity yields. We have shown that by increasing the minimum height of the system, decreasing the size of the PV tables and decreasing the coverage ratio, the ground irradiance increases, in particular around the gaps between the tables. The most direct way of increasing the lowest irradiance in a solar park design is to use semi-transparent PV panels, such as the commercially available bifacial glass-glass modules. In conclusion: we have shown that we can achieve similar ground irradiance levels in an east- and west-facing design with 77% ground coverage ratio as is achieved by a south-facing design at 53% coverage.
As an answer to the increasing demand for photovoltaics as a key element in the energy transition strategy of many countries—which entails land use issues, as well as concerns regarding landscape transformation, biodiversity, ecosystems and human well-being—new approaches and market segments have emerged that consider integrated perspectives. Among these, agrivoltaics is emerging as very promising for allowing benefits in the food–energy (and water) nexus. Demonstrative projects are developing worldwide, and experience with varied design solutions suitable for the scale up to commercial scale is being gathered based primarily on efficiency considerations; nevertheless, it is unquestionable that with the increase in the size, from the demonstration to the commercial scale, attention has to be paid to ecological impacts associated to specific design choices, and namely to those related to landscape transformation issues. This study reviews and analyzes the technological and spatial design options that have become available to date implementing a rigorous, comprehensive analysis based on the most updated knowledge in the field, and proposes a thorough methodology based on design and performance parameters that enable us to define the main attributes of the system from a trans-disciplinary perspective. The energy and engineering design optimization, the development of new technologies and the correct selection of plant species adapted to the PV system are the areas where the current research is actively focusing in APV systems. Along with the continuous research progress, the success of several international experiences through pilot projects which implement new design solutions and use different PV technologies has triggered APV, and it has been met with great acceptance from the industry and interest from governments. It is in fact a significant potential contribution to meet climate challenges touching on food, energy, agriculture and rural policies. Moreover, it is understood—i.e., by energy developers—as a possible driver for the implementation of large-scale PV installations and building integrated agriculture, which without the APV function, would not be successful in the authorization process due to land use concerns. A sharp increase is expected in terms of number of installations and capacity in the near future. Along this trend, new concerns regarding landscape and urban transformation issues are emerging as the implementation of APV might be mainly focused on the efficiency of the PV system (more profitable than agriculture), with insufficient attention on the correct synergy between energy and food production. The study of ecosystem service trade-offs in the spatial planning and design for energy transition, to identify potential synergies and minimize trade-offs between renewable energy and other ecosystem services, has been already acknowledged as a key issue for avoiding conflicts between global and local perspectives. The development of new innovative systems (PV system technology) and components (photovoltaic devices technology) can enhance the energy performance of selected design options for APV greenhouse typology.
Wavelength-Selective Photovoltaic Systems (WSPVs) combine luminescent solar cell technology with conventional silicon-based PV, thereby increasing efficiency and lowering the cost of electricity generation. WSPVs absorb some of the blue and green wavelengths of the solar spectrum but transmit the remaining wavelengths that can be utilized by photosynthesis for plants growing below. WSPVs are ideal for integrating electricity generation with glasshouse production, but it is not clear how they may affect plant development and physiological processes. The effects of tomato photosynthesis under WSPVs showed a small decrease in water use, whereas there were minimal effects on the number and fresh weight of fruit for a number of commercial species. Although more research is required on the impacts of WSPVs, they are a promising technology for greater integration of distributed electricity generation with food production operations, for reducing water loss in crops grown in controlled environments, as building-integrated solar facilities, or as alternatives to high-impact PV for energy generation over agricultural or natural ecosystems.
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.
Montana Renewable Energy Association (MREA) gives steps, tips, and tricks to install solar at your home, businesses, farm or ranch, or school to save money on energy and increase your energy independence. Installing solar at your home, businesses, farm or ranch, or school will save you money on your energy bills and increase your energy independence. (1) Gather information: Do some research online and talk to the Montana Energy Office at the Dept. of Environmental Quality and a renewable energy advocate like the Montana Renewable Energy Association (MREA). A few questions to consider: Do you have a location on your property in mind already? Roof? Ground? Does the location get sun? Do you want to stay connected to the grid, or go off-grid? What is your budget for the project? (2) Contact local solar installers: Request bids from several installers to find the right fit and price for you. Ask for an in-person site visit to assess structural issues, electrical connections, and shading. Review historical energy usage to size the system properly. Discuss your energy goals. Do you want to cover all of your energy use or just some? (3) Review costs and financing: Does the cost meet your budget? Will you save as much as you were hoping on your energy bills? What tax credits are available to you? What loan or financing options are available? (4) Sign a contract: Once you’ve made your decision to move forward, contact your installer and sign a contract. Then, work can begin! (5) Installation: The timeline will depend on things like weather and the installer’s schedule, and inspection appointments. For net metering customers, expect additional time for the utility to install your net meter. (6) Start producing energy: Congratulations! Every kWh you produce is saving you money and increasing your energy independence.
This report compares the economics of a solar rooftop mandate for new detached residential homes with a conventional home with gas heating and central air-conditioning. The home with rooftop solar is assumed to be an all-electric, net-zero-energy home that would generate as much solar electricity on its rooftop each year as it uses. The gas-heated home would be built to the same standard in all respects other than the gas space and water heating and gas cooking are replaced by efficient electric devices in the net-zero-energy home. The context is Montgomery County’s 2017 ambitious climate emergency resolution and a more recent statement by County Executive Marc Elrich about the possibility of a rooftop solar mandate. The County’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2027 and achieve 100% elimination of emissions by 2035
Modifications to the surface albedo through the deployment of cool roofs and pavements (reflective materials) and photovoltaic arrays (low reflection) have the potential to change radiative forcing, surface temperatures, and regional weather patterns. In this work we investigate the regional climate and radiative effects of modifying surface albedo to mimic massive deployment of cool surfaces (roofs and pavements) and, separately, photovoltaic arrays across the United States. We use a fully coupled regional climate model, the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, to investigate feedbacks between surface albedo changes, surface temperature, precipitation and average cloud cover.