Tag Archive for: AgriSolar

This article discusses the mechanism of local micro-climate changes caused by fishery complementary photovoltaic (FPV) power plants to illustrate the impact of FPV power plants in a lake on the environment. It includes details about comprehensive albedo decreases relative to free water surface, water energy change and air vapor pressure deficits. The article also reveals that the FPV panels had a heating effect on the ambient environment, and that the range of this effect was related to water depth.

This study outlines some of the impacts large-scale solar facilities can have on the local environment, provides examples of installations where impacts have been minimized through co-location with vegetation, characterizes the types of colocation, and gives an overview of the potential benefits from co-location of solar energy projects and vegetation.

This study assessed the performance of a blind-type shading regulator that can automatically rotate semi-transparent photovoltaic blades installed on the greenhouse roof in response to sunlight variation.

This paper describes results of crop outputs for certain vegetables with differing gap spaces between rows to determine optimal crop production. It addresses nutrient levels, soil water content, and plant temperature below the panels. 

Solar energy is the fastest growing renewable energy source. It is predicted that 20-29% of global power will be sourced by solar by 2100. Solar energy requires larger land footprints and long-term commitments. Vegetation left under solar panels reduces soil degradation and opens up the potential for solar grazing as a dual income for farmers and vegetation management for solar utilities. Research conducted on multiple solar sites in Minnesota reveal there can be meaningful forage in 45% shade and 80% shade from solar panels. Furthermore, grazing sheep under solar panels produces both a higher content of carbon and nitrogen in the soil. Managed episodic grazing can be used as a strategy for carbon sequestration and vegetation management. Soil properties show an overall improvement and benefits depending on soil properties. Future work must be done to measure the long term soil carbon and hydrological properties.

Increasing energy demands and the drive towards low carbon (C) energy sources has prompted a rapid increase in ground-mounted solar parks across the world. This represents a significant global land use change with implications for the hosting ecosystems that are poorly understood. In order to investigate the effects of a typical solar park on the microclimate and ecosystem processes, we measured soil and air microclimate, vegetation and greenhouse gas emissions for twelve months under photovoltaic (PV) arrays, in gaps between PV arrays and in control areas at a UK solar park sited on species-rich grassland. Our results show that the PV arrays caused seasonal and diurnal variation in air and soil microclimate. Specifically, during the summer we observed cooling, of up to 5.2 °C, and drying under the PV arrays compared with gap and control areas. In contrast, during the winter gap areas were up to 1.7 °C cooler compared with under the PV arrays and control areas. Further, the diurnal variation in both temperature and humidity during the summer was reduced under the PV arrays. We found microclimate and vegetation management explained differences in the above ground plant biomass and species diversity, with both lower under the PV arrays. Photosynthesis and net ecosystem exchange in spring and winter were also lower under the PV arrays, explained by microclimate, soil and vegetation metrics. These data are a starting point to develop understanding of the effects of solar parks in other climates, and provide evidence to support the optimisation of solar park design and management to maximise the delivery of ecosystem services from this growing land use.

Global energy demand is increasing as greenhouse gas driven climate change progresses, making renewable energy sources critical to future sustainable power provision. Land-based wind and solar electricity generation technologies are rapidly expanding, yet our understanding of their operational effects on biological carbon cycling in hosting ecosystems is limited. Wind turbines and photovoltaic panels can significantly change local ground-level climate by a magnitude that could affect the fundamental plant–soil processes that govern carbon dynamics. We believe that understanding the possible effects of changes in ground-level microclimates on these phenomena is crucial to reducing uncertainty of the true renewable energy carbon cost and to maximize beneficial effects. In this Opinions article, we examine the potential for the microclimatic effects of these land-based renewable energy sources to alter plant–soil carbon cycling, hypothesize likely effects and identify critical knowledge gaps for future carbon research. Land use change for land-based renewables (LBR) is global, widespread and predicted to increase. Understanding of microclimatic effects is growing, but currently incomplete, and subsequent effects on plant–soil C cycling, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and soil C stocks are unknown. We urge the scientific community to embrace this research area and work across disciplines, including plant–soil ecology, terrestrial biogeochemistry and atmospheric science, to ensure we are on the path to truly sustainable energy provision.

Greenbacker Capital Invests in Solar Development

Greenbacker Capital has announced that it will be investing in a California-based solar developer, Noria Energy, according to a recent report. The investment will assist Noria in scaling solar projects that are both ground-mounted and floating solar arrays, known as floatovoltaics. Noria hosts solar operations in both Latin America and the United States.

Solar Powered Canals to be Tested in California

Project Nexus was recently approved by California’s Turlock Irrigation District to move forward with constructing the nation’s first solar panels over water canals. This project will assist California in reaching the state’s decarbonization goals by 2030. The project is based on research conducted by a University of California graduate student and commissioned by the Sierra Nevada Research Institute, UC Water, and Solar Aquagrid, according to a recent UC Merced article

Solar-Powered Oyster Barge Sets Sail in Chesapeake Bay

A solar-powered oyster barge is now operating in Chesapeake Bay to assist in the restoration of Chesapeake Bay’s aquaculture. The barge will grow oysters that will be used for filtering water in other areas of the bay. The new barge features 12 solar panels that generate roughly 24 kilowatt-hours of energy each day, according to this report. Solar Oysters, the partnership between Maritime Applied Physics Corporation (MAPS) and the Ecologix Group, Inc. that made the solar barge possible, plans to develop more barges in the future that will grow oysters fit for consumption.

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.

This report discusses the goal of agrisolar systems, which would generate electricity from raised solar panels and allow crop cultivation under the solar panels, and their development. Details of the report include the effect of raised solar panels and their effect on shading, which affects factors of the crops development. This information can be used to potentially optimize the design of agrisolar operations to most effectively benefit the crops included in the agrisolar operation.