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Global energy assessment of the potential of photovoltaics for greenhouse farming

Agrivoltaic (APV) systems have emerged as a promising solution to reduce the land-use competition between PV technology and agriculture. Despite its potential, APV is in a learning stage and it is still necessary to devote big efforts to investigate its actual potential and outdoor performance. This work is focused on the analysis of APV systems in agriculture greenhouses at global scale in terms of energy yield. In this study, a novel dual APV model is introduced, projected in four representative locations with a high crop cultivation greenhouse implantation, i.e. El Ejido (Spain), Pachino (Italy), Antalya (Turkey) and Vicente Guerrero (Mexico), and for 15 representative plant cultivars from 5 different important socioeconomic families of crops, i.e. Cucurbitaceae, Fabaceae, Solanacae, Poaceae, Rosaceae. At this stage, semi-transparent c-Si PV technology has been considered due its high efficiency and reliability. The results show that APV systems could have a transparency factor around 68% without significantly affecting the total crop photosynthetic rate. Taking this into account, APV systems would produce an average annual energy around 135 kWh/m2, and values around 200 kWh/m2 under a favorable scenario. This could represent a contribution to the total market share between 2.3% (Mexico) and 6% (Turkey), and up to 100% of the consumption demand of greenhouses equipped with heating and cooling (GSHP), and lighting.