World population growth is leading to an increased demand for energy and food. This is creating a conflict over land use as terrain for large renewable energy facilities is not available for agricultural. As a solution, agrivoltaics combines the use of the land for agricultural and photovoltaic exploitation. In this work, the conversion of photovoltaic installations with N-S horizontal trackers into agrivoltaic installations by cultivating tree crops in hedgerows between the rows of collectors is analyzed. Specifically, the shading of the crop on the photovoltaic panels is studied. It has been proved that there is an area between the collectors in which the crop would not shade the photovoltaic panels. Likewise, a new tracking/backtracking strategy is proposed to avoid shading in cases where the crop exceeds this region of no influence. Finally, it has been found that the Land Equivalent Ratio for an agrivoltaic plant in Cordoba (Spain) with N-S horizontal trackers and olive groves in hedges up to 3.0 m high and 1.5 m wide can increase between 28.9% and 47.2%. Thus, these PV installations are potentially adaptable to agrivoltaic installations making renewable energy facilities compatible with a more efficient and sustainable agricultural model.
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.
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.
This article describes a planned three-year study (2019-2022) to understand the effect of shading below solar panels in apple production. This study will include tree water status, irrigation requirements, and fruit growth. The first-year results of the study are included.
This thesis examines the crop outputs for Swiss chard, kale, pepper, and broccoli in an agrisolar system with different gap spacings between solar panel clusters. It concludes that the biomass crop yields of agrisolar plots are restricted significantly for Swiss chard, kale, or pepper compared against the full-sun control plot yields but not for broccoli stem and leaf yields.
This article concerns research conducted at a 100-m2 experimental farm with three sub-configurations: no modules (control), low module density, and high module density. In each configuration, 9 stalks/m2 were planted 0.5 m apart. The biomass of corn stover grown in the low-density configuration was larger than that of the control configuration by 4.9%. Also, the corn yield per square meter of the low-density configuration was larger than that of the control by 5.6%.
This article reviews factors that influence solar PV and agronomic management in agrisolar systems. The authors conclude that several adjustments for crop selection and management are needed due to light limitation, microclimate condition beneath the solar structure, and solar structure constraints. The authors also conclude that a systematic irrigation system is required to prevent damage to the solar panel structure.
This study investigates the effects of semi-transparent, wavelength-selective OPV solar on a greenhouse tomato crop in the arid southwestern U.S. This study demonstrates that the use of semi-transparent OPVs as a seasonal shade element for greenhouse production in a high-light region is feasible. However, a higher transmission of PAR and greater OPV device efficiency and durability could make OPV shades more economically viable, providing a desirable solution for co-located greenhouse crop production and renewable energy generation in hot and high-light intensity regions.
This study concerns lettuce grown beneath solar panels and found large leaf size and yield in lettuce grown under the panels. The authors suggest optimizing solar panel shade and lettuce varieties for optimal co-location.
This Master’s Thesis includes research findings on the performance of agrivoltaic systems with stilt-mounted photovoltaic (PV) panels on farmland. The results showed that the stilt-mounted agrivoltaic system can mitigate the trade-off between crop production and clean energy generation even when applied to shade-intolerant crops.
This report includes a discussion of vegetation-centric approaches to the co-location of solar energy and vegetation, including harvestable crops.
This study investigates the effects of solar photovoltaic panel designs on lettuce growth.
This study investigates a hybrid of co-located agriculture and solar photovoltaic (PV) infrastructure by monitoring micro-climatic conditions, PV panel temperature, soil moisture and irrigation water use, plant eco-physiological function and plant biomass production within a agrivoltaic ecosystem and in traditional PV installations and agricultural settings to quantify trade-offs. Authors find that shading by the PV panels provides multiple additive and synergistic benefits, including reduced plant drought stress, greater food production and reduced PV panel heat stress.
This North American Center for Saffron Research and Development reports the findings of two years of study on growing saffron under solar panels at the Peck Electric solar field in Burlington, VT. Updated Feb '22.
This article describes the impact of crop spacing and PV module design on tomatoes in a greenhouse.
This study describes a foldable solar PV structure developed to grow pear crops in Korea.
This resource provides practical advice for farmers considering installing solar photovoltaic systems.
This article provides an overview of solar-suitable crops in Germany. It contrasts the performance, imitations, and possible agrisolar synergies of large-scale crops compared to small-area specialized crops.
This article reports the findings of a studied on kale, broccoli, chard, peppers, tomatoes, and spinach grown in the partial shade of a solar photovoltaic system.
This article reports findings from the ACRE farm in West Lafayette, Indiana, which includes single-axis trackers in a novel configuration atop a maize test plot.
This article describes a study of potatoes grown under solar panels. The study concludes that the panels promote potato plant grow but do not provide protection from frost.
This articles includes research findings of a study conducted on grapes that were cultivated on land that was divided into six sections: three with photovoltaic panels and three without. The study did not find a difference in grape growth but did find a slight slowing of grape growth under the solar panels. The sugar content was slightly higher in the experiment group.
This article describes a simulated maize (corn) crop, grown under an agrivoltaic system trademarked Agrovoltaico.
The article concerns changes in microclimatic conditions in an agrisolar system within an organic crop rotation. Crops include celeriac, winter wheat, potato, and grass-clover cultivated both underneath solar PV panels system and on an adjacent reference site without solar panels. Alteration in microclimatic conditions and crop production under solar PV was confirmed including reduced photosynthetic active radiation, soil temperature, soil moisture, and air temperatures.
This article concerns a study conducted at the Biosphere 2 Agrivoltaics Learning Lab. The study found that an agrivoltaic installation can significantly reduce air temperatures, direct sunlight and atmospheric demand for water relative to nearby traditional agricultural settings.
This article describes the microclimate and growth characteristics of tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicon var. Legend) grown within three locations on an Agrivoltaic field (control, interrow, and below panels) and with two different irrigation treatments. Total crop yield was highest in the control fully irrigated areas and decreased as shading increased.