Shading and Irradiance

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Photosynthetically Active Radiation Decomposition Models for Agrivoltaic Systems Applications

Decomposition models of solar irradiance estimate the magnitude of diffuse horizontal irradiance from global horizontal irradiance. These two radiation components are well-known to be essential for the prediction of solar photovoltaic systems performance. In open-field agrivoltaic systems, that is the dual use of land for both agricultural activities and solar power conversion, cultivated crops receive an unequal amount of direct, diffuse and reflected photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) depending on the area they are growing due to the non-homogenously shadings caused by the solar panels installed (above the crops or vertically mounted). It is known that PAR is more efficient for canopy photosynthesis under conditions of diffuse PAR than direct PAR per unit of total PAR. For this reason, it is fundamental to estimate the diffuse PAR component in agrivoltaic systems studies to properly predict the crop yield.
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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 design 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.
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Impact of an Agriphotovoltaic System on Metabolites and the
Sensorial Quality of Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)
and Its High-Temperature-Extracted Juice

To date, the impacts of agriphotovoltaic (APV) condition on the production yield of crop have been studied; however, the effect of APV production on the sensorial quality and consumer acceptability of the produce remains unexplored. Therefore, to address this knowledge gap, we cultivated “Winter Storm” cabbage under solar panels and in open field in 2020. The weight and diameter reduction rate of fresh cabbage grown under APV condition compared to open field conditions were 9.7% and 1.2%, respectively. The levels of glucosinolates and their hydrolysis products were not significantly different in the fresh cabbage between the two conditions. The amount of volatile organic compounds, which may affect the perception of smell, were significantly higher in the cabbage juice prepared from the ones grown in open-field conditions than in the juice prepared from cabbages grown under APV conditions. However, untrained subjects could not distinguish the difference in the quality of the 2 sets of cabbage juices in the triangle test. Regardless of the distinguishing features of color, aroma, and taste, the subjects did not have any preference between the two different cabbage juices.
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Lettuce Production under Mini-PV Modules Arranged in Pattern Designs

The growing need for clean energy and food production are favoring the use of underused spaces, such as rooftops. This study aims to demonstrate the compatibility of the use of rooftops both for the production of photovoltaic energy and for the production of food, despite the fact that both compete for the same resource, sunlight (rooftop agrivoltaic). The results show that in these environmental conditions, the cultivation of plants that demand little sunlight, such as lettuce, is compatible with the shading produced by photovoltaic panels.
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Agrivoltaics Provide Mutual Benefits Across the Food-Energy-Water Nexus in Drylands

The vulnerabilities of our food, energy, and water systems to projected climatic change make building resilience in renewable energy and food production a fundamental challenge. We investigate a novel approach to solve this problem by creating a hybrid of colocated agriculture and solar photovoltaic (PV) infrastructure.