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Wavelength-Selective Solar Photovoltaic Systems: Powering Greenhouses for Plant Growth at the Food-Energy-Water Nexus

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.